Baghdad, 23 December 2002 (RFE/RL) -- The head of the UN's nuclear agency says it has begun privately interviewing people inside Iraq who have important information on Baghdad's arms programs. Mohammed el-Baradei, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), told CNN the agency is also preparing to take people out of Iraq for interviews if necessary.
But he said the safety of those interviewed must be ensured. UN weapons inspectors today continued their search for evidence of weapons of mass destruction. They visited three sites near Baghdad: a baby milk factory, a veterinary vaccinationcenter, and a military-run engineering company.
Iraq yesterday said it had no secret weapons to hide and described charges to the contrary as "lies." Iraq also invited the CIA to direct inspectors to any suspected weapons sites.
Baghdad has pledged full cooperation with UN inspectors as the United States continues to accuse Iraq of hoarding illegal weapons and developing banned military programs.
Iraq insists it has no illegal weapons and yesterday invited CIA agents to come to Iraq and direct inspectors to any suspected sites.