Weapons inspectors US and Israeli spies, says Iraq

05 December 2002

UN weapons inspectors in Iraq came in for criticism from all sides on 4 December. The US continued to voice doubts about the ability of Hans Blix's team to disarm Saddam Hussein, with White House spokesman Ari Fleischer calling for more vigorous, simultaneous inspections. 'We want to make certain that they are aggressive enough to be able to ascertain the facts in the face of an adversary who in the past did everything in the power to hide the facts,' he said.

Iraq meanwhile accused the UN team of being US and Israeli spies, in the country to prepare for a US attack. 'The inspectors have come to provide better circumstances and more precise information for a coming aggression,' said Iraqi Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan on 4 December. 'Their work was spying for the CIA and Mossad together.' He said that the visit to one of Saddam Hussein's presidential palaces on 3 December was provocative. Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz made similar accusations, saying in an interview that the US was determined to go to war, and that 'the whole issue of weapons of mass destruction is a hoax'. However Iraq is continuing to co-operate with the inspectors, and has promised to produce a dossier of all its weapons technologies on 7 December, a day before the UN deadline. Mohammed Amin, head of Iraq's national monitoring directorate, has been reported as saying that the document will detail various dual use activities but will continue to deny any illegal weapons programmes.

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