Office of the Spokesman
March 10, 2003
Historic Review of UNMOVIC's Report on Unresolved Disarmament Issues
This fact sheet carefully reviews UNMOVIC's (United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission) report (the "Cluster Document") delivered on March 7 before the UN Security Council concerning the Iraqi government and its refusal to carry out full and complete disarmament of its weapons of mass destruction.
Released on March 10, 2003
The report demonstrates that Iraq and its leadership have pursued a consistent strategy of concealing its weapons of mass destruction and deceiving inspectors in direct violation of its international obligations. Iraq's weapons of mass destruction remain a direct and active threat to their neighbors and to the international community.
History Repeats Itself: Iraq's Strategy to Deny, Deceive and Conceal Continues
- UNMOVIC's document lays bare that Iraq's strategy today has not changed. Inspectors are faced with deception, concealment and changing stories.
- Inspectors discovered that Iraq failed to declare an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle that is based on a system that Iraq admitted to UNSCOM (United Nations Special Commission) was intended to deliver chemical or biological agent.
- Inspectors discovered cluster bombs and sub munitions that appeared designed to deliver chemical or biological agents. Contrary to initial Iraqi statements, a number of bombs and over 100 sub munitions were found.
- Iraq has failed to provide inspectors with supplier information about foreign-procured items. These items include gyroscopes, chemicals and laboratory equipment - all apparent weapons of mass destruction-dual-use items.
- Iraq claims that a 50-ton trailer that it illegally imported for use as a missile launcher was "stolen." This is the same "stolen" story that Iraq has used in the past for weapons of mass destruction items such as biological growth media.
- UNMOVIC has concluded that documents Iraq provided regarding production of botulinum toxin and Iraq's capability to dry biological weapon agents provided no new information. Just the same, tired story Iraq told UNSCOM.
Iraq's History of Denial, Deception and Concealment
- On nearly 30 occasions, Iraq refused -- despite repeated requests from the international community -- to provide credible evidence to substantiate its claims that they do not possess arms or have disarmed fully and completely.
- The document cites 17 instances when inspectors uncovered evidence directly contradicting Iraqi claims of innocence.
- Iraq has admitted numerous attempts to mislead inspectors by lying or planting false evidence during the inspection process.
- Time and again, Iraq successfully concealed its weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs from the earlier inspection teams (UNSCOM) -- only changing its story in order to fit the facts. For example:
- Only in 1995 did Iraq declare its offensive biological weapons program, after publicly denying its existence for four years.
- Only in 1997 did inspectors discover evidence of production completed on prohibited missiles in 1992.
- Only in 1997 did Iraq declare an additional 187 pieces of specialty equipment used to produce deadly chemical agents.
- Only in 2003 when confronted by inspectors, did Iraq turn over the "Iraqi Air Force" document that contradicts Iraq's chemical weapons declaration - by disclosing an additional 6,500 bombs with 1,000 tons of the blistering agent mustard gas.
- This document makes clear that Iraq has the inherent capability to manufacture chemical and biological weapons and literally tens of thousands of delivery systems (missiles, munitions, unmanned aerial vehicles).
Additional Examples of Iraq's Years-Long Strategy of Deception and Concealment:
- After lying for four years, Iraq admitted in 1995 to producing nearly 8,500 liters of anthrax.
- Furthermore, the Iraqi's noted that only one facility was involved in the production of anthrax and that none of the biological agent was produced in 1991. Moreover, Iraq said it filled 50 R-400 bombs and five missile warheads with anthrax.
- UNMOVIC's report recollects UNSCOM's conclusions:
- Iraq's anthrax production potential could have been as much as 25,000 liters.
- Evidence that a second facility produced anthrax in 1991.
- Evidence that more than five warheads were filled with anthrax.
- That there is no reliable or final assessment of how many R-400 bombs were filled with anthrax.
- About 10,000 additional liters of anthrax were not destroyed and may still exist.
- "Iraq currently possesses the technology and materials…to enable it to produce anthrax."
- By 1993, Iraq was successfully drying large quantities of a bacteria that "could be a model for anthrax."
- As the Secretary noted on February 5, Iraq has developed a mobile biological agent production capability. In only one month's time, these mobile units can produce the same, or more, dry anthrax equivalent to the 10,000 liters Iraq has hidden from inspectors.
VX (a human-made chemical warfare agent classified as a nerve agent)
- Iraq's Chemical Weapons declarations in April 1991 and June 1992 did not disclose Iraq's VX program. Only in March 1995 did Iraq admit to having produced large-scale amounts of VX -- one of the most dangerous chemical agents created.
- Iraq claims never to have successfully weaponized VX.
- UNMOVIC's document concludes:
- Iraq provided false and misleading declarations in order to retain production equipment specifically modified to produce VX.
- Direct physical evidence contradicts Iraq's claim that it never weaponized VX.
- Iraq failed to provide any credible evidence to support its claims of unilateral destruction of VX and VX precursors.
- UN inspectors reported to the UN Security Council that "UNMOVIC has information that conflicts with [Iraq's] account. There are indications that Iraq had worked on the problems of purity and stabilization and that more had been achieved than has been declared."
- Iraq first claimed it had 1,200 R-400 chemical bombs.
- After Iraq admitted its biological weapons program in 1995, Iraq altered its story and added 350 R-400 bombs.
- However, UNSCOM has never fully verified Iraq's ever-changing claims and concluded it did not know how many R-400 bombs Iraq produced for chemical/biological agents.
- Of these 1,550 bombs, Iraq says it filled 157 with biological agents. Nothing supports that number. UNSCOM concluded it did not know how many Iraq filled with biological weapons.
- Iraq claims today that newly-found bombs and bomb fragments add up close to 157 and that, therefore, the issue of R-400 biological bombs can be closed.
- Regrettably, the fact is that Iraq has refused to provide a complete and accurate count on how many R-400 bombs -- filled or unfilled -- Iraq really has in its possession.
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and Spray Devices
- We now know that inspectors discovered an undeclared Unmanned Aerial Vehicle with a 7.45 meter wingspan, based on a drop tank system that Iraq admitted was intended to disperse biological agent, has apparent autonomous flight capability and appears to have the capability to fly more than 150 kilometers.
- This type of discovery is only the latest chapter in Iraq's effort to hide the fact that it has worked for years to develop Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and spray devices to deliver chemical and biological agent.
- Only in 1996 did Iraq admit trying to convert the MiG-21 fighter aircraft into an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle to deliver a biological weapon agent. Then, Iraq changed its story and claimed that the MiG-21 would deliver a "munition."
- On spray tanks, UNMOVIC concludes, "there is a clear contradiction in Iraq's explanation of…spray tanks." Contrary to Iraq's declaration, Iraq has "a well-developed drop-tank for [a] chemical agent."
- UNMOVIC states, "The development of tanks for chemical weapons and biological weapons uses should…be considered…one continued project…Spraying devices modified for chemical/biological weapon purposes may still exist in Iraq."
- Iraq has pursued several other Unmanned Aerial Vehicles -- the L-29 jet trainer and smaller aircraft -- all capable of using spray devices to deliver a chemical/biological agent.
- UNMOVIC's basic conclusion: a "general question of Iraq's intentions with respect to remote-piloted vehicles as chemical/biological delivery systems…"
SCUD-Type Biological and Chemical Warheads
- UNMOVIC's document states: "A number of discrepancies and questions remain which raise doubts about accounting of special warheads, including:
- The total number produced [100 warheads, not 75]…
- Iraq's numerous modifications to its declarations on these matters.
- Iraq's admitted action taken to mislead UNSCOM on the location and number of special warheads.
- And most importantly, the physical evidence which conflicts with Iraq's account of its destruction of biological warheads…"
- This issue is important because special warheads are "linked to the wider issue of whether Iraq had retained Scud-type missiles, propellant and a launching capability after the declared destruction."