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SHOWDOWN WITH IRAQ

Excerpts From the U.N. Reports

MOHAMED ELBARADEI: Chief U.N. nuclear weapons inspector

February 15, 2003

The focus of the IAEA's inspections has now moved from the "reconnaissance phase" into the "investigative phase." ... Since our Jan. 27 report, the IAEA has conducted an additional 38 inspections at 19 locations, for a total of 177 inspections at 125 locations. Iraq has continued to provide immediate access to all locations....

The IAEA has continued to interview key Iraqi personnel. We have recently been able to conduct four interviews in private -- that is, without the presence of an Iraqi observer. The interviewees, however, have tape-recorded their interviews.... In response to a request by the IAEA, Iraq has expanded the list of relevant Iraqi personnel to over 300, along with their current work locations. The list includes the higher-level scientists known to the IAEA in the nuclear and nuclear-related areas....

Iraq continues to state that it has made no attempt to import uranium since the 1980s. The IAEA recently received some additional information relevant to this issue, which will be further pursued, hopefully with the assistance of the African country reported to have been involved.

The IAEA is continuing to follow up on acknowledged efforts by Iraq to import high-strength aluminum tubes. As you will know, Iraq has declared these efforts to have been in connection with a program to reverse-engineer conventional rockets. The IAEA has verified that Iraq had indeed been manufacturing such rockets. However, we are still exploring whether the tubes were intended rather for the manufacture of centrifuges for uranium enrichment....

In the course of an in- spection conducted in connection with the aluminum tube investigation, IAEA inspectors found a number of documents relevant to transactions aimed at the procurement of carbon fiber, a dual-use material used by Iraq in its past clandestine uranium-enrichment program for the manufacture of gas centrifuge rotors. Our review of these documents suggests that the carbon fiber sought by Iraq was not intended for enrichment purposes....

The IAEA has continued to investigate the relocation and consumption of the high explosive HMX.... Iraq has provided us with additional information, including documentation on the movement and use of this material, and inspections have been conducted at locations where the material is said to have been used. However, given the nature of the use of high explosives, it may well be that the IAEA will be unable to reach a final conclusion on the end use of this material....

In the coming weeks, the IAEA will continue to expand its inspection capabilities in a number of ways, including its already extensive use of unannounced inspections at all relevant sites in Iraq. To strengthen and accelerate our ability to investigate matters of concern ... we intend to increase the number of inspectors and support staff....

We have to date found no evidence of ongoing prohibited nuclear or nuclear-related activities in Iraq. However, as I have just indicated, a number of issues are still under investigation and we are not yet in a position to reach a conclusion about them....

The IAEA's experience in nuclear verification shows that it is possible, particularly with an intrusive verification system, to assess the presence or absence of a nuclear weapons program in a state even without the full cooperation of the inspected state. However, prompt, full and active cooperation by Iraq, as required under Resolution 1441, will speed up the process. And more importantly, it will enable us to reach the high degree of assurance required by the Security Council in the case of Iraq in view of its past clandestine [weapons of mass destruction] programs and past pattern of cooperation. It is my hope that the commitments made recently in Baghdad will continue to translate into concrete and sustained action.

Thank you.

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