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Iraq To Recreate Nuclear Energy Agency

BAGHDAD -- A senior Iraqi official says the government will create a national nuclear-energy commission that will focus on using nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

Iraqi Science and Technology Minister Raid Fahmi told RFE/RL's Radio Free Iraq (RFI) on April 10 that Baghdad also wants UN Security Council resolutions restricting nuclear energy in Iraq lifted, since the country poses no international threat.

He underlined that former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's nuclear program has been dismantled and Baghdad is closely cooperating with the International Atomic Energy Agency to dispose of nuclear waste and eliminate all remaining nuclear facilities and components.

Fahmi added that Iraqi scientists previously involved in Hussein's nuclear program will be employed to train technical personnel.

He noted that Iraq was one of the first Mideast countries to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, establishing a national atomic agency in the late 1950s.

A nuclear reactor built with French support south of Baghdad was destroyed by Israeli warplanes in 1981.