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Iraq discloses production of banned missile fuel

Thursday, January 16, 2003

Iraq has reported the production of solid-fuel for missiles banned for deployment.

U.S. officials said Iraq has disclosed the production of new energetic fuels suited only to a class of longer-range missiles, such as the Samoud and Ababil 100. Iraq has been banned by the United Nations from manufacturing missiles with a range greater than 150 kilometers.

The United States has persuaded the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission to focus on the Iraqi admission of the production of the fuel for longer-range missiles, Middle East Newsline reported.

UN inspectors visited the Al Rashid headquarters where they discussed with Iraqi scientists and officials the status of solid propellant missile programs.

"Iraq claims that flight-testing of a larger diameter missile falls within the 150 kilometer limit," the State Department said in a statement. "This claim is not credible. Why is the Iraqi regime manufacturing fuels for missiles it says it does not have?"

Inspectors from UNMOVIC and International Atomic Energy Agency also compared inventories generated by Iraq. The inventory seeks to address what officials term the extremly large stocks of high-strength aluminum, which can be used for missile development.

Last year, a British intelligence report asserted that Iraq has continued its solid-fuel missile development program. The report said Baghdad seeks to complete a missile with a range of at least 1,200 kilometers.

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