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IAEA Experts Examining Huge Dossier on Iraq's Weapons Programs


A specially assembled team of experts at the International Atomic Energy Agency headquarters in Vienna has started to sift through the huge dossier of material provided by Iraq on its weapons programs.

Late Sunday, the head of the IAEA inspection team in Baghdad, Jacques Baute, arrived at Vienna's Schwechat airport with a small, green suitcase. It contained the documents and computer discs provided by Iraq, in hopes of proving it no longer possesses weapons of mass destruction.

The report was delivered in compliance with last month's U.N. Security Council resolution.

Senior analysts at the agency started work immediately. The agency's press spokesperson, Melissa Flemming, said the core team working on the Iraqi dossier is being aided by experts from both inside and outside the organization. International experts, acquainted with nuclear weapons and Iraq's program, are flying in to Vienna to join the team. In addition, translators are working on the documents in Arabic, and three senior analysts are examining the material.

The IAEA director-general, Mohamed ElBaradei, hopes to give an assessment of the findings to the Security Council by the end of next week.

Later this month, the IAEA will begin analyzing samples gathered by its inspectors working in Iraq. The nuclear control agency does not expect the results before the end of January. The inspectors returned to Iraq two weeks ago, after a four-year absence.

Iraq hopes to prove through the report that it no longer possesses any weapons of mass destruction. The Security Council has threatened "serious consequences" if the report is not accurate.

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