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Wednesday, August 11, 2004

BBC NEWS | Middle East | Iraq 'ended nuclear aims in 1991'

BBC NEWS | Middle East | Iraq 'ended nuclear aims in 1991': "Iraq 'ended nuclear aims in 1991'
By Gordon Corera
BBC Security correspondent

The head of Iraq's nuclear programme under Saddam Hussein has said Iraq destroyed its nuclear weapons programme in 1991 and never restarted it.
Jafar Dhia Jafar told the BBC sanctions and inspections worked in stopping the reconstitution of the programme.
One of the most powerful arguments in the case for war on Iraq was the US and UK's claim Saddam Hussein was trying to restart his nuclear programme.
Mr Jafar ran Iraq's nuclear programme for nearly 25 years.
Equipment destroyed
The man the former Iraqi leader originally asked to build the country's nuclear bomb claimed all nuclear development stopped in July 1991, under the orders of Saddam Hussein.
'We had orders to hand over the equipment to the Republican guards,' Mr Jafar said in his first broadcast interview - to be aired on BBC's Newsnight programme on Wednesday evening.
'And they had orders to destroy the equipment that we handed over to them.'
He said that everything was destroyed, such that the programme could not be restarted at the time - and that it never restarted. "

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