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News Update on Iraq Inspections


The following is provided as guidance to the news media and remains subject to change. For additional coverage, see WorldAtom's pages on IAEA and Iraq.

Present Schedule

  • 27 January 2003: Date for IAEA and UN Iraq Inspectorates to present status report to the Security Council as required under Resolution 1441.
  • 19 December 2002: IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei and UNMOVIC Executive Director Hans Blix are scheduled to provide a preliminary assessment to the UN Security Council on the Iraq declaration received 8 December 2002.
  • 10 December 2002: More inspectors arrive in Iraq, bringing the total on the teams to 70 inspectors (43 UNMOVIC and 27 IAEA).
  • 8 December 2002: Deadline set by the Security Council for receipt of Iraq's declaration of its weapons of mass destruction. The Iraq declaration of its nuclear programme is received by the IAEA at its Headquarters in Vienna. The declaration consists of about 2100 pages in English and 300 pages in Arabic. The IAEA stated that it expects to be able to provide a preliminary analysis of the document to the Security Council within the next ten days, with a fuller assessment to be provided when it reports to the Council at the end of January.
  • 7 December 2002: Iraq submitted its declaration to chief IAEA and UN inspectors in Baghdad.
  • 27 November 2002: IAEA and UN inspectors began inspections under Security Council Resolution 1441.
  • 20-25 November 2002: In preparation for the resumption of inspections, IAEA technicians travel to Baghdad with specialized equipment for nuclear inspections. IAEA and UNMOVIC weapons inspectors travel to Baghdad shortly thereafter.
  • 18 November 2002: IAEA Chief Mohamed ElBaradei and UNMOVIC Chief Hans Blix and their teams flew on a UN chartered plane to Baghdad to begin preparations for the launch of inspections under UN resolution 1441. Logistics officers immediately began to reopen the IAEA-UNMOVIC office and installedcomputers, arrange secure communications, establish transportation, etc.
  • 17 November 2002: Dr. ElBaradei and Dr. Blix traveledl from Vienna to Larnaca, Cyprus. A team of eight senior officials and logistics officers accompanied Dr. ElBaradei. Dr. Blix was joined by about 13 on the UN team.

The Team

The IAEA Iraq Action Team presently consists of about three dozen inspectors and supporting staff. The countries of origin of the team members, at present, are: France, USA, South Africa, the UK, Egypt, Australia, India, Russia, Ireland, Austria, China, Canada, and the Netherlands.

Press Contacts

Inspectors and other members of the IAEA Iraq Action Team are not available to the press. Press briefings by IAEA Director General ElBaradei or other senior IAEA officials will be announced in advance. All press inquiries should be directed to the IAEA Division of Public Information Director and Spokesperson, Mr. Mark Gwozdecky -- Tel. [43-1] 2600-21270 or (43-664-154-6989) -- or to Ms. Melissa Fleming, Alternate Spokesperson -- Tel. [43-1] 2600-21275 or [43] 664-325-7376 (mobile). The Division's Fax number is [43-1] 2600-29610. The email for the press office is info@iaea.org.

The latest available information on IAEA Iraq missions will be posted on the IAEA WorldAtom web site at www.iaea.org.

Key to Success

In an address to the Carnegie International Non-Proliferation Conference in Washington on 14 November, Dr. ElBaradei said, "The success of inspections in Iraq will in my view depend on five interrelated prerequisites:"

    1. immediate and unfettered access to any location or site in Iraq, and full use of all the authority granted to us by the Security Council - including the additional authority provided for in the new resolution;
    2. ready access to all sources of information - including timely intelligence information;
    3. unified and unequivocal support from the Security Council, with the affirmed resolve to act promptly in case of non-compliance - this, in my view, is the best support that inspectors could have and the best deterrence against non-compliance;
    4. active co-operation from Iraq, with a sustained demonstration of its stated willingness to be transparent and to enable inspectors to fulfil their mission without any conditions attached; and
    5. the preservation of the integrity and impartiality of the inspection process, free from outside interference, to ensure that conclusions are accepted as objective and credible by all parties. Efforts by national governments to infiltrate the inspection process are ultimately counter-productive, because they lead to the destruction of the very fabric of the process, let alone its credibility.

"I would hope and trust that, empowered with the appropriate authority and provided with the necessary information, inspectors should be able to verify effectively the disarmament of Iraq. In my view, the use of force should clearly be the last resort and not the first option. But regardless of how events unfold in the foreseeable future, inspections will be the key, in the long haul, to ensuring that clandestine efforts to develop nuclear weapons - in Iraq or elsewhere - are detected and thwarted. There is no certainty, for example, that a new regime in Iraq, democratic or otherwise, would automatically renounce unconventional weapons, if such renunciation were perceived to be inconsistent with its threat perception. It is essential, therefore, that we make every effort to see to it that inspection - which is central to the entire nuclear arms control effort - succeeds both in Iraq and everywhere else. This requires that we continue to learn from our past experience, that we refine the system, and above all that we continue to work together towards that goal".

Last update: 20 June 2018

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