Former adviser to Saddam: Iraq hiding WMD from UN arms inspectors
A former nuclear adviser to Iraqi President Saddam Hussein said in Manila Monday that Baghdad possessed weapons of mass destruction and they were being hidden from United Nations arms inspectors.
"I believe these are still in Iraq and being moved around to avoid detection by the UN inspection team," said Dr. Hussein Shahristani, a nuclear scientist who once served as adviser to Saddam while Baghdad was developing atomic energy capability to produce weapons of mass destruction.
Shahristani fled from Iraq during the 1991 Gulf War after he was jailed for 11 years when he refused to be part of his country's nuclear buildup.
He currently serves as chairman of the Iraqi Refugee Aid Council, a UK-registered charity providing development assistance and emergency aid to impoverished refugees in the Middle East.
He is currently in Manila to hold a series of closed-door briefings with US embassy officials and academics.
Shahristani said in an interview published in the Philippine Star Monday that he believed most of Saddam's nuclear weapon installations had been destroyed by US forces during the 1991 US-led campaign against Iraq.
However, the "most lethal" weapons - the chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction - were left untouched and remain unaccounted for, he added.
Among them, he said, were botulinum, aflatoxin, gas gangrene, ricin and wheat smut. Shahristani said they could be unleashed by artillery shells and strategic weapons, like aerial bombs and rocket warheads.
On the possibility of a US-led attack against Iraq, Shahristani said President Bush should allow the United Nations to supervise efforts to free Iraqis from Saddam's "oppressive regime."
However, he thinks Washington may launch a preemptive strike on Iraq with or without UN blessings. "Yes, it seems the Americans have already made up their mind about this war. They would go through with it, with or without the UN's blessings," he said. (Albawaba.com)
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