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Iraqi Scientist Denies Prewar Nuclear Effort

March 09, 2004|From Associated Press

BEIRUT — The father of Iraq's nuclear bomb program denied Monday that Saddam Hussein had tried to restart his atomic activities before the U.S.-led invasion last year.

Jafar Jafar, speaking publicly for the first time since American forces occupied Baghdad, also called for a United Nations inquiry into what its inspectors knew before the invasion. Inspectors "reached total conviction" that Iraq was free of nuclear weapons yet failed to convey that to the U.N. Security Council because of U.S. pressure, he said.

Before the invasion last March, chief U.N. inspector Hans Blix and Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said that in four months of searching in Iraq, their teams found no evidence of weapons of mass destruction or programs to build them. But, they said, they needed more time to reach a definitive conclusion.

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