UN bans Iraq's Al Samoud missile

Monday, February 17, 2003

The United Nations has banned Iraq from manufacturing the Al Samoud short-range missile.

UN weapons inspectors have concluded that the Al Samoud exceeds the 150-kilometer range limit set by the Security Council. They did not disclose how far the missiles could travel, Middle East Newsline reported.

Hans Blix, chairman of the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission, said missile experts who convened in New York last week have concluded that two variants of the Al Samoud-2 are "capable of exceeding 150 kilometers in range."

The Al Samoud is powered by the SA-2 missile engine. Iraq was said to have imported 380 such engines outside of UN auspices.

"Any such engines configured for use in this missile system would also be proscribed," Blix said in a briefing to the Security Council on Friday.

Blix said the missile experts could not make a determination whether the Al Fatah missile exceeded the limits set by Security Council resolution 687.

"The experts found that clarification of the missile data supplied by Iraq was required before the capability of the missile system could be fully assessed," Blix said.

The UN weapons inspection chief banned the refurbishing of casting chambers that had been intended for the Badr-2000 medium-range missile. The UN ordered the destruction of the chambers after the 1991 Gulf war, but Iraq acknowledged that it restored the chambers.

"The experts have confirmed that the reconstituted casting chambers could still be used to produce motors for missiles capable of ranges significantly greater than 150 kilometers," Blix said. "Accordingly, these chambers remain proscribed."

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