Posted by andreas from dtm2-t8-2.mcbone.net (126.96.36.199) on Sunday, December 29, 2002 at 4:46AM :
The usual info war ...
this brought to you by UN experts:
28 Dec 2002 12:30
Iraqi scientist blasts U.N. experts over interview
BAGHDAD, Dec 28 (Reuters) - An Iraqi scientist said on Saturday U.N. arms experts had exaggerated the outcome of an interview with him as part of a hunt for alleged banned weapons.
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors interviewed on Friday Kathim Mijbil, a metallurgist from the al-Rayah Company which is an arm of Iraq's Military Industrialisation Commission.
The Iraqi Foreign Ministry had given his name as Kathim Jamil but he gave his family name as Mijbil.
Mijbil told a news conference in Baghdad that he had been involved in restoring aluminium tubes for possible use in short- range missiles but denied he had any links to past banned weapons programmes or any current such activity.
He said Iraq had imported the tubes in 1987 for use in the production of 81-mm missiles with a range of 10 km (six miles). He said the tubes had corroded because of poor storage.
A U.N. spokesman said on Friday the scientist had provided technical details of a military programme.
"This programme has attracted considerable attention as a possible prelude to a clandestine nuclear programme," he said.
The spokesman said the interview "will be of great use in completing the IAEA assessment" of Iraq's nuclear programme.
"I strongly deny this," Mijbil said. "Frankly I'm very disturbed...over these statements because they don't relate to reality. Does cleaning an aluminium tube from corrosion with basic chemicals...lead to a secret programme?"
He said the U.N. statement bordered on fabrication and was grossly exaggerated.
"There may be some political agenda or to escalate the situation," Mijbil said.
He said he turned down the inspectors' request to hold the interview at their headquarters and later agreed to meet them at al-Rasheed Hotel with an Iraqi monitoring official present.
Asked why he refused to go to the headquarters, he said: "I look at this place Guantanamo Bay and I am not a prisoner, I am a free Iraqi man."
The United States holds scores of mainly Arab prisoners in Guantanamo Bay in Cuba in its "war against terrorism".
Mijbil, the second scientist to be formally interviewed by the inspectors who resumed on November 27 a hunt for nuclear, biological and chemical weapons in Iraq after a four-year break, urged other scientists to turn down any offer to take them abroad for interviews.
"My interview was in my country with the presence of the (Iraqi) representative...and you saw what happened in the press so what will the situation be when anybody...is interviewed abroad?" the British-educated scientist said.
"There will be lots of misunderstandings, fabrications and lies."
The United States and Britain have raised the alarm in recent months over alleged attempts by Iraq to buy aluminium tubes that could be used to process uranium. Iraq denied the charges and said it had had the tubes since the 1980s.
Iraq admits it did have nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programmes in the past but says it has abandoned all banned programmes and has no weapons of mass destruction.
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