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Tuesday, 24 September, 2002, 15:08 GMT 16:08 UK
Iraqi diplomat rejects dossier
Dr Mudhafar Amin
Dr Amin studied at Durham University in the 1970s

Iraq's only diplomat in Britain has rejected claims that his country is continuing to develop weapons of mass destruction outlined in a UK Government dossier of evidence against Saddam Hussein.

Dr Mudhafar Amin, 59, said the report exaggerated past events that were "half truths" and included "much that was simply fabrication" in an attempt to "pull the wool over the eyes of the British people".

"The problem with the report is that Tony Blair has war in mind and he is finding excuses to justify it," he told BBC News Online.

But the prime minister said the 50-page report, based on intelligence and UN inspectors' reports, showed Iraq's weapons programme was "active, detailed and growing", and he warned of the need to act.

'Military force'

Dr Amin - head of the Iraqi Interests Section in London - spent the morning analysing the parliamentary debate being broadcast on the television set in his Kensington offices.

Crowd with poster of Saddam Hussein
Mr Blair said Saddam must be stopped
Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy's speech, in which he said the call for "regime change" in Iraq smacked of imperialism and warned of the dangers of using military force, was predictably well received.

"Blair and Bush are saying that the United Nations must back the use of military force against Iraq, and if it does not then it is an irrelevance," said Dr Amin.

"They are saying act in the way we want you to or we will ignore you. What sort of choice is that?"

"It is not that [Mr Blair] has found evidence which necessitates military action, but that he needs a document to back up the will to wage war on Iraq."

'War no solution'

The diplomat - who has a PhD in modern Arabic history from Durham University - lives in Holland Park, London. He is married with three children, two of whom attend British universities.

Part of his job is to feed back to Baghdad information on the political climate in the UK.

An ICM poll for Tuesday's Guardian newspaper suggests 37% of Britons would support military action, with 46% against and 18% undecided.

Dr Amin said he was "confident" that the dossier would not convince a majority of British people of the need for war against Iraq.

"They know that war is not a solution," he added.


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