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Iraq: UN supervises destruction of 3 more missiles

Iraq: UN supervises destruction of 3 more missiles

United Nations inspections teams supervised the destruction of three more banned Iraqi missiles today and visited a food plant, three factories and a construction facility for possible evidence of proscribed biological, chemical or nuclear weapons programmes.

Since the 1 March deadline set for starting the process, Iraq has destroyed 55 Al Samoud 2 missiles, banned because they can exceed the 150-kilometre range imposed by Security Council resolutions. UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) teams also supervised the destruction of nine warheads, a launcher, some propellant tanks and small components for the missile.

UNMOVIC sought a private interview with an Iraqi researcher in the chemical field today but the researcher insisted the questioning be tape-recorded. It therefore, did not proceed - the fifth case since 28 February in which a private interview did not take place due to a condition insisted upon by the interviewee. Nine private interviews have taken place since 28 February.

A biological team inspected the Canning Foods Co. Ltd, which produces tomato products, date syrup, cheese, vinegar, and watermelon jam, in Kerbala, about 100 kilometres southeast of Baghdad, while a chemical team checked three factories belonging to the State Company for Battery Manufacturing. A multidisciplinary team inspected the Mosul branch of the Mesopotamia Seed Company.

A team from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspected the Ur General Establishment, which manufactures aluminium products for the construction industry and a variety of copper wire products for the power and communications industries.