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U.S. To Investigate Report On Iraqi Nuclear Material

12 October 2004 -- A U.S. diplomat today said the United States will investigate a report by the UN nuclear watchdog agency that equipment and material that could be used to make nuclear bombs has disappeared from Iraq.

U.S. Deputy Ambassador Anne Patterson told reporters at the United Nations that the United States will "obviously do a full investigation, working with the Iraqis."

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said in a report to the UN Security Council that neither the U.S. nor Iraqi governments appeared to have noticed equipment and materials were missing.

Speaking in Vienna today, IAEA spokesman Mark Gwozdecky said: "Since the [Iraq] war it's clear not only from what we've seen from satellite imagery but also from investigations that we have conducted at various ports and places like the Netherlands and in Jordan and Turkey that a lot of material from these nuclear sites is moving out of Iraq and finding a way to other countries."

In Baghdad, Iraqi Science and Technology Minister Rashad Omar said IAEA inspectors would be welcome to return to Iraq if they wanted to check for the missing equipment and materials.