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Last Updated: Sunday, 26 October, 2003, 23:25 GMT
Iraq 'shelved nuclear plans'

By Jon Leyne
BBC correspondent in Washington

Nuclear bomb detonators smuggled to Iraq
Iraq's nuclear programme may have been disbanded in 1991
New evidence acquired by the Washington Post newspaper suggests that Iraq made no attempt to restart its nuclear programme following the first Gulf War in 1991.

It follows the report presented by the weapons inspector David Kay earlier this month who admitted they had not found any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

The information obtained by the newspaper suggests there is no evidence of any renewed nuclear programme in Iraq in the last 12 years.

Perhaps even more seriously, the evidence suggests that the Bush administration did not take its own warnings very seriously either.

Rocket-making

The papers interviewed a senior Australian weapons inspector, Brigadier Stephen Meekin, as well as a number of other unnamed inspectors from the United States and Britain.

David Kay
Kay: Inspectors did not find WMD
They all say that a set of aluminium tubes produced as the main evidence of Iraq's nuclear programme were actually for making rockets.

The inspectors point out there has been no attempt to seize or destroy the tubes, something that might be expected if they could indeed be used for making nuclear weapons.

The Secretary of State Colin Powell insisted that the purpose of the tubes was still being discussed, but he is now facing more questions about his own comments from early in 2001 when he said Iraq had not developed a significant capability of weapons of mass destruction.


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