Skip to comments.UN Complains About Removal of Saddam's Nuke Fuel
Posted on 07/08/2004 8:35:05 AM PDT by kattracks
United Nations officials are complaining that the U.S. Energy Department failed to consult with them before removing nearly two tons of low-enriched uranium from Saddam Hussein's sprawling al Tuwaitha nuclear facility last month.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, a U.N. official said there was some concern about the legality of the U.S. transfer because the nuclear material belonged to Iraq and was under the control and supervision of the IAEA, the Associated Press reported on Thursday. "The American authorities just informed us of their intention to remove the materials, but they never sought authorization from us," Gustavo Zlauvinen, head of the IAEA's New York office, told the AP.
Ivan Oelrich, a physicist at the Federation of American Scientists, said Tuesday that Iraq's low-enriched uranium could have yielded enough highly enriched uranium to make a single nuclear bomb - if it was the standard 3 to 5 percent enrichment level common in fuel for commercial power reactors.
Opponents of the Iraq war have long argued that there was no evidence that Saddam Hussein posed a nuclear threat. Though the existence of Saddam's nuclear fuel stockpile had been known to U.S. officials years, neither the Bush administration nor the American media has done much to publicize the news.
During the 1990s, North Korea had little trouble circumventing IAEA inspectors, developing its own fully operational nuclear weapons program in defiance of a treaty signed with the Clinton administration.
In a press release by the Energy Department on Tuesday, Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham defended the U.S. removal operation as "a major achievement" that kept "potentially dangerous nuclear material out of the hands of terrorists."
While the UN was kept in the dark about the operation, which was completed on June 23, Iraq's new interim government was informed ahead of time and apparently did not object.
After the first Gulf War, roughly 2 tons of natural uranium, or yellow cake, plus some low enriched uranium and some depleted uranium, was left at al Tuwaitha under IAEA seal and control, agency spokesman Zlauvinen said.
While Saddam kicked out UN weapons inspectors in 1998, he permitted the IAEA to guard the al Tuwaitha facility, though it's not clear how closely they were able to monitor operations at the cite.
While under similar supervision by the IAEA during 1990s, North Korea successfully acquired the capacity to make nuclear weapons, along with ICBMs that can strike the continental U.S.
In Dec. 2002, Pyongyang kicked out IAEA inspectors after announcing to the world that they were proceeding full-speed ahead with their nuclear weapons development program.
The IAEA left Iraq in March 2003, just before the U.S. invasion.
After the war the al Tuwaitha facility was looted, raising new concerns that some of Saddam's nuclear fuel could have fallen into the hands of terrorists.
Invited back in by the U.S. after the war, IAEA inspectors recovered most missing uranium. Agency spokesman Zlauvinen said the nuclear fuel was put in sealed containers and left for the Americans to guard.
Al Tuwaitha is now under the control of Iraq's Ministry of Science and Technology.
I am about fed uip with the notion that we need the UN's authority to do anything.
Authorization? We don't need no Steenking authorization!
Whoops! Who forgot to tell the UN?
They (the UN) seem to not realize that if you want it done right, and on time, and at a reasonable (no bribes) cost, you cut them out of the picture.
The UN is useful so we can keep tabs on what the rest of the fools on this planet are up to, nothing more.
Memo to U.N.: écoutez bien, vous allez non pertinent.
Apparently Iran had first refusal.
"Invited back in by the U.S. after the war, IAEA inspectors recovered most missing uranium. Agency spokesman Zlauvinen said the nuclear fuel was put in sealed containers and left for the Americans to guard."
Moving it out of the country sounds like the best way to "guard" stuff to me, doesn't it?
screw the UN.
we don't need any OK from the UN for anything except demolishing the building.
Boy, are they thick - OK, once more: WE DON'T CARE WHAT YOU THUGS AT THE UN THINK OR SAY.
At this point it's not beyond the realm of possibility that the UN allready had the deal set for terrorists to get their share.
If you had backed up your own resolutions, UN, you would have something to say. Since you didn't, STFU.
Under their control and supervision - and they did not know we removed it? We don't need that kind of control and supervision.
I'll imagine there is a lot of teeth gnashing by Blix and his cohorts right now -- they had probably started a bidding war between Al Qaeda, Iran and the Columbian drug lords over these two tons of uranium and had their new Mercedes with UN plates all picked out...
That's funny, the administration didn't publicize the Abu Grahib thing either and that got coverage for 3 months. The fact that Saddam possessed fissile material is not that big a deal. But underwear on arabs' heads is the real outrage. Damn media.
"Dear" U.N. Please lodge all your complaints at the following: WWW.BITE_ME.COM/losers. Thank You for your comments & international "concern."
The Jesse Jackson of the international community.
I'm relevant, dammit, relevant!
Stockpile of yellow cake? Wonder if it came from Niger.
We oughta backup a truck and dump the whole 2 tons on the front steps of the UN building.
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