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Post-Inspection Iraq: 1998-2002

Iraq does not currently have nuclear weapons, but there is concern that Iraq has been attempting to reconstitute its nuclear weapon program. The October 2002 CIA evaluation of Iraq points to Iraq's attempts to procure thousands of high-strength aluminum tubes that could potentially be used to produce centrifuges capable of enriching uranium.

Because the IAEA inspections significantly damaged Iraq's capability to enrich Uranium, the CIA believes that it is highly unlikely that Iraq could produce enough High-Enriched Uranium for a bomb before the latter part of this decade. If, however, they were able to acquire fissile material abroad, it is likely that they retain the technical know-how to assemble a nuclear bomb. The International Institute of Strategic Studies concluded that Iraq could assemble a nuclear weapon within months of acquiring fissile material abroad.

The findings of the IAEA as to the status of the Iraqi weapons program after December 16, 1998 are that:

In addition to Iraq's attempts to acquire aluminum tubes, the CIA also points to Iraq's refusal to provide key documents on its nuclear weapons program as a major concern.

Sources and Resources

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Maintained by the Strategic Security Project
Updated Wednesday, October 30, 2002