IAEA: Report of Iraqi Nuclear Arms Bid Being Checked
UNITED NATIONS (AP) _ Nuclear weapons inspectors say they are checking reports that Iraq may be developing nuclear arms in breach of a U.N. ban.
The U.N. Security Council will be told the probe is under way in a report by the International Atomic Energy Agency this week, sources said Tuesday on condition of anonymity. Details were not available.
It would likely be a further setback to Iraq’s efforts to lift crippling economic sanctions the council after imposed after Saddam Hussein’s army invaded Kuwait in August 1990.
Another team of U.N. inspectors said Monday that Iraq may be making germ warfare agents.
The council can only lift sanctions _ including a ban on Iraqi oil sales _ if it is satisfied that Iraq has complied with disarmament resolutions passed after the Gulf War.
IAEA, the U.N. nuclear agency, reports to the council every six months.
The Sunday Times of London reported last week that an Iraqi scientist sent the newspaper documents suggesting Iraq was concealing nuclear material and trying to get together a group of scientists.
The scientist, Dr. Khidir Abdul Abas Hamza, sent the material before defecting in Greece in February, the newspaper said.
David Kyd, the agency’s spokesman, said Tuesday the documents have the ``ring of authenticity.″
``They’re not something we could dismiss out of hand as being totally implausible,″ he said.
He said Iraq has not responded to IAEA questions about the Sunday Times report.