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UN Says Iraqi Nuclear-Related Materials Have Vanished

11 October 2004 -- The UN's nuclear watchdog told the Security Council today that equipment and materials that could be used to make nuclear weapons are disappearing from Iraq but that neither Baghdad nor Washington appears to have noticed.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said in its report to the UN Security Council that satellite imagery shows that entire buildings in Iraq have been dismantled. The IAEA said they once housed high-precision equipment that could help a government or terrorist group make nuclear bombs.

IAEA Director General Muhammad el-Baradei said equipment and materials helpful in making bombs also have been removed from open storage areas in Iraq and disappeared without a trace.

Some of the military materials that vanished from Iraq after the U.S.-led invasion were discovered in scrap yards in the Middle East and Europe, el-Baradei said, but none of the equipment or material that the IAEA believes might be useful in producing nuclear weapons has been accounted for.

The United States has prevented UN weapons inspectors from returning to Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion to oust Saddam Hussein began in March 2003.