Tags: Iraqi | Foreign | Minister | Says | 'No | Doubt' | Saddam

Iraqi Foreign Minister Says 'No Doubt' Saddam Hid WMD

Tuesday, 13 September 2005 12:00 AM

Zebari – an Iraqi Kurd - dismissed the doubts that have been rampant in the Western press over trumped-up intelligence reports. "We are all convinced that Saddam had WMD, because Saddam used WMD on us Iraqis. We have no doubt that he had them, because he used them. Of this, there is no doubt," he said.

If anyone still has doubts of Saddam Hussein's WMD capabilities, Zebari said, they can visit Iraq. "The weapons plants are still there. Many of them were looted, but they are still there," he said.

Zebari also blasted the Syrian government following reports that insurgents had fled into Syria just hours before a recent U.S.-Iraqi attack on an Iraqi border town.

"We are concerned, definitely," Zebari told reporters. "The Syrians are not doing enough to prevent infiltration across the border."

The recent U.S.-Iraqi operations in western Iraq "showed without a doubt that the main axis of foreign fighters coming into Iraq is through Syria," he said.

Infiltration from the Islamic Republic of Iran also has been a problem, with Iran making inroads "in many places in Iraq."

Zebari indicated that since the Iraqi elections in January, the Iranians "have been shrewder" than the Syrians, and have "been more conciliatory" in their talks with Iraqi government officials.

Zebari recently went to Tehran to meet with the new, hard-line president of the Islamic Republic, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. "We presented our concerns in detail," he said. These included "weapons smuggling across the border."

But in contrast to the Syrians, who have refused to respond to Iraqi pleas to shut down infiltration routes and supply routes for the insurgents, Zebari said the Iranian government "has been more forward-looking. They have dealt with the new Iraqi government in a very different way from the Syrians."

The election of a hard-liner as president of Iran actually made dealing with Tehran easier than before, Zebari said. "The new president is a conservative. So there are no more reformers and hard-liners. They all speak with one voice, from [Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali] Khamenei, on down."

Zebari acknowledged that Iraq's progress toward freedom and democratic elections "is not welcome in this part of the world," and that countries such as Syria were aiding the insurgency out of fear that Iraq's new-found freedom would prove contagious.

Zebari will meet with U.S. officials on Tuesday and travel to the United Nations headquarters in New York for the annual U.N. General Assembly meeting that starts Wednesday.

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Zebari - an Iraqi Kurd - dismissed the doubts that have been rampant in the Western press over trumped-up intelligence reports. "We are all convinced that Saddam had WMD, because Saddam used WMD on us Iraqis. We have no doubt that he had them, because he used them. Of this,...
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2005-00-13
Tuesday, 13 September 2005 12:00 AM
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