For Immediate Release: March 26, 2001
Contact: Amy Ridenour (202) 507-6398 or [email protected]
Defectors Claim Iraq Successfully Tested Nuclear Bomb
Iraq successfully carried out one nuclear test before the Gulf War, say two senior scientists who worked in Iraq's nuclear program.
The men, Iraqi defectors, further claim Saddam Hussein has carried out further nuclear tests and now has several bombs hidden in a bunker under the Hamin Mountains north of Baghdad.
The scientists' reports challenge American intelligence claims that Saddam Hussein does not have sufficient enriched uranium or plutonium to develop a nuclear program.
This disturbing new evidence about Saddam Hussein's nuclear arsenal could provide an explanation for Iraq's increasingly aggressive behavior.
The primary witness about Iraq's nuclear program is a defector known only as "Leone," who claims he worked for a special scientific department of the Republican Palace in Baghdad.
"Leone's" claim is confirmed by a second defector who worked at another branch of the Iraqi weapons program and by a former personal assistant to Saddam Hussein's son.
The former assistant claims that a nuclear test was carried out in 1988 or 1989 in an underground site near Lake Rezzaza.
Meanwhile, "Leone" contradicts American intelligence reports, which maintain that Saddam Hussein couldn't obtain sufficient amounts of fissionable material. He claims Saddam Hussein emuggled enriched nuclear fuel from South Africa via Brazil.