- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 9, 2003

From combined dispatches
BAGHDAD Iraq yesterday called on the United Nations to remove 12 years of sanctions "totally and comprehensively" and ban weapons of mass destruction in the entire Middle East, especially in Israel and eventually in the United States.
Baghdad said the latest weapons inspectors' reports showed the country has fulfilled its disarmament commitments.
Iraq resumed destroying banned Al Samoud 2 missiles under U.N. supervision yesterday, crushing six more after taking a day off on Friday.
In a statement after a meeting chaired by Saddam Hussein, the Iraqi leadership made a set of demands that it said the U.N. Security Council should implement after Friday's reports by chief U.N. weapons inspectors Hans Blix and Mohamed ElBaradei.
"The embargo against Iraq should be lifted totally and comprehensively after America's motives were revealed to the world and after Iraq abided by [U.N.] Security Council resolutions," the statement said.
Iraq has been under U.N. sanctions since 1990 for its invasion of Kuwait.
Iraqis, who once enjoyed wealth from a booming oil economy, have been reduced to penury with a large proportion of the country's 25 million people suffering from malnutrition.
Most Iraqis now live on food handouts provided by the government, which in 1996 was allowed by the United Nations to sell oil to buy food and medicine to alleviate the suffering of its people.
The statement also demanded that the Security Council denounce the United States and Britain as "liars," strip Israel of its suspected weapons of mass destruction and force it to pull out of "Palestine and occupied Arab land."
"At the front of those that must be rid of these weapons is the Zionist entity," the statement said in a reference to Israel, adding that the order should "move on after this region to America."
The meeting was attended by members of the ruling Ba'ath party, the Revolutionary Command Council and the parliament speaker.
The Iraqi statement said Mr. Blix and Mr. ElBaradei had testified that Iraq was sincere and implementing Security Council resolutions accurately.
"After the stage that Iraq had reached in implementing the commitments defined by the Security Council … the world, its peoples and most of its governments have come to realize the real aims of the American administration," the statement said.
On Friday, Mr. Blix told the U.N. Security Council Iraq's cooperation fell short of council demands but applauded Baghdad's scrapping of al-Samoud 2 missiles.
The inspectors, however, questioned Iraq's motivation, as it began to give the inspectors what they wanted only when the threat of war became immediate.
Mr. Blix also documented lingering questions about the Iraqi weapons program in a 173-page dossier, which said Baghdad may still possess about 10,000 liters of anthrax, Scud missile warheads and drones capable of flying far beyond a 93-mile limit.
President Bush said the inspectors' reports indicated that only a war will make Iraq give up its banned weapons.
"Unfortunately, it is clear that Saddam Hussein is still violating the demands of the United Nations by refusing to disarm," he told Americans in a radio address yesterday.
In the past week, Iraq has destroyed 40 of its 100 Al Samoud 2 missiles, prohibited by the United Nations because some tests indicated they could fly farther than a U.N.-imposed limit of 93 miles. It also has been destroying equipment used to make them.
U.N. inspectors' spokesman Hiro Ueki said Iraqi workers crushed six Al Samoud 2 missiles yesterday at the al-Taji military complex north of Baghdad, under the supervision of weapons inspectors. Three of the missiles had warheads and three didn't.
Inspectors also supervised the destruction of tools and "special equipment used to produce the Al Samoud 2 engine" at the Al Samoud factory, he said, and another group of inspectors verified the emptying of Al Samoud 2 warheads at the Qa Qa complex just south of Baghdad.
Odai al-Taie, a senior Information Ministry official, said the workers crushing the missiles took Friday off because they had worked Tuesday, the Muslim new year. Mr. Ueki described Friday as a "planning day" for teams working on missile destruction.
Mr. Ueki said an Iraqi chemical scientist granted an interview to weapons inspectors, bringing to eight the number of scientists who have given interviews since Feb. 28, when Iraq began urging them to talk.
Since the same date, four scientists have refused.
Interviews with nuclear scientists have been conducted more frequently because the nuclear inspectors don't mind the scientists tape-recording the interviews, a sticking point for the chemical and biological teams.

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