MANAMA, Bahrain — Iraq has acknowledged that it built a large uranium-enrichment system suitable for producing nuclear bombs, a senior U.N. inspector said Tuesday.
"The significance of this . . . is that Iraq acknowledged it has been pursuing a production-scale centrifuge enrichment program rather than simply a research program," said Robert Gallucci, the No. 2 man on the U.N. special commission charged with destroying Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.
He spoke in Bahrain after returning from an inspection trip to Iraq.
Gallucci said the Iraqis have destroyed the imported components.
In Washington on Tuesday, President Bush said Iraq still has large numbers of undeclared ballistic missiles and that it may still be trying to produce Scud missiles from parts obtained before the Gulf War.
Bush sent a report to Congress intended to keep lawmakers informed of efforts to gain Iraqi compliance with U.N. resolutions ending the conflict.
Iraq had admitted trying to enrich uranium by electromagnetic separation and other methods. A centrifuge is a faster and more sophisticated method.
U.N. experts have said Iraq might have been able to produce a bomb within a year if allied bombing had not damaged or destroyed much of its equipment during the war.