- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 19, 2003

BAGHDAD An angry Iraqi scientist accused "mafialike" U.N. inspectors yesterday of using his wife's illness to attempt to lure him abroad for interrogation about Baghdad's nuclear programs.
"Never, never will I leave my country," he said.
Physicist Faleh Hassan was one of two scientists whose homes inspectors visited Thursday. It was the first unannounced visit to private residences as the United States increased pressure on the U.N. teams to try to take scientists abroad for questioning about whether there is prohibited weapons-building by the Iraqis.
Mr. Hassan ended up spending the overnight hours with the U.N. team at a Baghdad hotel, arguing over whether he would be able to retain copies of documents the inspectors found in his home, he told reporters yesterday in his suburban front yard.
Before that, Mr. Hassan, 55, had taken the U.N. experts to a field outside Baghdad where they together inspected what appeared to be a man-made mound, the significance of which was not clear to onlooking journalists. A senior Iraqi official said later Thursday that the field was part of a farm Mr. Hassan sold in 1996.
The physicist, once associated with the Iraq government's nuclear program, said that during that side trip, when an accompanying Iraqi official left his side momentarily, a female U.N. inspector offered to arrange for him to leave Iraq as an "escort" for his ailing wife.
Mr. Hassan said he was assured that treatment would be arranged for his wife for kidney stones, diabetes and high blood pressure. He said the woman was an American, but he could not remember her name.
Mr. Hassan said he refused the offer. "This is mafialike behavior," he told reporters.
"We would rather live as beggars in our country than live as kings abroad," he said. He said he wouldn't leave even if instructed to do so by his government.
Mr. Hassan, director of the Al-Razi military industrial site, said the documents taken from his home were from his own research work and from graduate theses of students whom he has advised.
Iraqi officials said Mr. Hassan, who received his doctorate at Edinburgh University in Scotland, is not on the list of 500 scientists and other specialists connected with nuclear, biological and chemical programs submitted to the United Nations last month.


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