"This is the first book that really unravels the myths about Iraq's nuclear program. It is an honest account, written by an extremely honest person. It also provides a glimpse of the suffocating machinations of the security services in Iraq. A compulsory reading for whoever worked in that place, as I did."


"'No country without an atomic bomb could properly consider itself independent'. This is what Charles de Gaulle said and what could explain the tragedy of Iraq. The second richest oil country in the world has been invaded not because it has the bomb but because it hasn't. "Iraq's Nuclear Mirage" tells the story of how this tragedy turned Imad Khadduri into a walking hell: an Iraqi Christian Arab from the sixties generation, nurtured by Che Guevara, Regis Debray and Third World liberation's ideologies, with Master degrees in Physics from the University of Michigan, and PhD in Nuclear Reactor Technology from the University of Birmingham, devoted 30 years of his professional life to build a nuclear program for his country only to dismantle it later and suffered with his nation from the most tormenting and humiliating sanctions in the modern history of mankind that was preceded by "weapons of mass disinformation". The smooth chattering narrative of "Memoirs and Delusions" is misleading; this is what the readers will discover when they reach the last two lines of the book: "The neoconservatives have indeed succeeded in manipulating the "American Way of Life" to devour my beloved Iraq. We shall, however, resurrect, to their detriment. "

- Mohammed Aref, science writer, based in Surrey, U.K.

Former Iraqi scientist speaks out

Little was known about Dr. Imad Khadduri until a few months ago when he decided to speak out. The former Iraqi nuclear scientist - who left Baghdad for Canada in 1998 - is now trying to counter the "misinformation campaign mounted by the United States and Britain" which he said was intentional to fan the drive to war and had relied on sources with little credibility.

"Iraq has no nuclear weapons and no means to deliver them," Khadduri, who worked for the Iraqi Atomic Energy Commission from 1968 to 1998 said. "American and British claims that Iraq could be as close as months away from building a nuclear weapon are ridiculous."
That is not what his former colleague Khidhir Hamza believes. Hamza details in his recent book: "Saddam's Bombmaker: The Terrifying Inside Story of the Iraqi Nuclear and Biological Weapons Agenda" how he helped design a nuclear bomb over the course of 22 years.
"I have no doubt that Iraq is pursuing the nuclear option. The Gulf War slowed development but failed to shut it down," Hamza, who defected to the US Embassy in Hungary in 1994 was quoted as saying.

In an interview with Jazeera.net, Khadduri challenged Hamza's claims as well as allegations made by Washington:

You have accused Hamza of working for the CIA with the purpose of supporting the American agenda, why?

In October, Hamza testified before a US Senate panel investigating Iraq's nuclear armaments. Hamza said Iraq was three years away from creating up to three atomic bombs. How can he say that when he has not been in Iraq for the last eight years, who are his sources? UNSCOM acknowledges that their absence from Iraq for four years have made them blind to Iraqi activities, yet have found nothing after three months of intense inspections. Also, Hamza contradicted himself. In 1999, he addressed the Seventh Carnegie International Non-Proliferation Conference in Washington, D.C. He said: "The plans were made and designed for an eventual production of 100 kilogram bomb -- six bombs. That would be a reasonable arsenal in something like five to 10 years. So in a decade or so, Iraq would become a real nuclear power like Israel." Hamza spoke as a representative of the Institute for Science and International Security. In 1999, Hamza spoke of six bombs in no more than 10 years. He told the Senate it was three bombs in no more than three years. Fine. Let's give the man the benefit of the doubt. It has been three years since his Carnegie speech. If Iraq was able to build only one bomb in 1990, before allied bombings and intensive UNSCOM inspections and monitoring, how could they possibly build three, let alone six bombs now?

Hamza was also involved in theoretical work at the nuclear research center during the 1970s and 1980s and he had an 'aversion' to scientific experimentation and shunned any responsibilities which would have made him, in any sense, a bombmaker. This is probably because of his fear of an electric jolt that he experienced as a child, as his book mentions. At the end of the 1970s, he completely refused to take any responsibility in the Iraqi-purchased French research reactor, and left that task to the great Egyptian scientist, Dr Yehya El-Meshad, who was assassinated by the Israeli secret service Mossad in Paris in 1980. At the most intense period of the nuclear weapon program's activities, 1988-1989, he was a non-entity at the Physics Department the Nuclear Research Instituteand not part of the nuclear weapon program team, presiding over a total staff of a sole one physics graduate of 1987, compiling a report from published articles. He was completely out of the loop from the bomb project.

How involved were you in Iraq's nuclear weapons procurement program?

I worked with the Iraqi nuclear program from 1968 until my departure in 1998. I was closely involved in most of the major nuclear activities of that program, from the Russian research reactor in the late 60s to the French research reactors in the 70s, the Russian nuclear electric power plant program in the early eighties, the nuclear weapons program during the 80s and finally the confrontations with UN inspection teams in the 90s.

During those thirty years, I prospected for uranium ore in Iraq, helped develop its nuclear facilities, served as procurement officer for the program and maintained its scientific and technical records.

Do you think Iraq has nuclear weapons or is actively trying to develop them?

The progress of Iraq's nuclear weapons program ceased to exist in 1991 following the allied forces bombing. The program was in shambles immediately after the end of the hostilities. The whole organizational structure was dispersed three years later. At the time, we only had grams of fissionable material. We had no delivery system. That was years away.
After the 1991 Gulf War, all the nuclear scientists and engineers focused their attention on the reconstruction of damaged electricity power stations, oil refineries and telephone exchanges. Their careers - and mine - came to an end.
The war opened the door to weapons inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency, the IAEA. One of my responsibiliies was to hide the program's most sensitive documents before the start of the war. This responsibility was assigned to another months before the commencement of the hostilities. Due to a faulty decision by the Iraqi side, the inspectors led by David Kay managed to obtain them. Those documents led to the destruction of the still standing Al-Atheer nuclear facility which was the center for the design and assembly of the nuclear bomb.
And during the ensuing years, IAEA inspectors managed to dismantle much of what ever remained of Iraq's nuclear bomb program.
I would confidently dare any intelligence agency to provide evidence contrary to my assertion that Iraq has no nuclear weapons nor is it actively trying to develop them since the end of the war in 1991. I ask - where are the buildings and infrastructure to support such a program? The entire program of the 1980s has been either bombed by the US during the war or uncovered by IAEA inspectors. It is impossible to hide such structures and buildings.

On February 5, US Secretary of State Colin Powell said the following during a speech to the UN Security Council:
"We have no indication that Saddam Hussein has ever abandoned his nuclear weapons program. Iraq has continued efforts to develop nuclear weapons and missiles capable of striking targets at a distance of up to 1,200 kilometers (745 miles). Saddam has a cadre of nuclear scientists with the expertise, and he has a bomb design but lacks the fissile material needed for a nuclear explosion. In an effort to develop fissile material, Saddam has made repeated covert attempts to acquire high-specification aluminium tubes from 11 different countries even after inspections resumed. Iraq had no business obtaining such tubes, even if they were for use in conventional rocket programs as Iraq and some experts have claimed."

Powell did not provide any credible evidence. If work was really going on, don't you think there would be traces - even in minute amounts of certain half-life isotopes that would surely be detected by the latest highly-touted, ultra sensitive instruments used by IAEA inspectors?
Powell said Iraq is still hiding or still working (it is hard to discern from the tangle of his word what is really meant) on its "third" uranium enrichment process by referring to documents seized in the house of Faleh Hamza.
Faleh's low-key research concluded that it was not yet viable to pursue this line of enrichment on a production scale and the whole project folded up in 1988. This was well documented and explained in our final report to the IAEA inspectors in late 1997, which they confirmed and referred to in their own final report on the matter.
Even Mohamed Baradei, the head of the IAEA, chided Blix the following day for not taking into account the IAEA's knowledge on this matter, which was that the 3,000 pages of documents were financial statements and Faleh's own lifetime research work, and had nothing to do with the nuclear weapons programme. That is why he kept them at his home.
Powell only accused but did not provide any evidence that Iraq had tried to get nuclear-grade fissile material since 1998. He vainly gave the impression that everything was set and readily waiting for just this material to be acquired and that the atomic bomb would be rolling out of the other door. He did not bother to ask himself the following questions:
Where is the scientific and engineering staff required for such an enormous effort when almost all of them have been living in abject poverty for the past decade and are well known to the IAEA inspectors.
Finally, regarding the infamous aluminum pipes that are supposed to be used in a centrifugal enrichment process, and according to the "American experts" themselves, such a process would need kilometers of strung out, highly tuned, delicately controlled spinners to fulfill their own ill-wish for Iraq. Not to be noticed by their satellites, PowerPoint presentations and coloured arrows would then be an intelligence folly. This is not even mentioning the lack of a stable electric power supply in Iraq or the phantom of highly technical staff to run these kilometers long "very high grade and expensive" mortar casings that are not made to US military standards. Perhaps Powell's grievance was, "How dare Iraq think of such expensive conventional weapons?"

Have you come under pressure since you countered statements made by Hamza and the US Administration?

No. But I have had difficulties in finding news organizations that would publish my story. My statements have been ignored by the mainstream media in Britain and the US. My letters and articles have been rejected without explanation. And after Yellowtimes.org generously published my third article on February 7, 2003 in which I refuted Powell's allegations made at the UN Security Council, the site was shut down by its hosting company for "technical reasons".

Are you in contact with any Iraqi scientist back home?
By email, with some as they are dear and life long friends.

Why and how did you leave Iraq?

I had made a promise to myself, since I was a student in the US in the sixties, that I would not marry but an Iraqi lady and that my children would be raised in the warmth and strength of the Iraqi and Arabic culture and tradition, but that their educt\ation would be the best I can afford to give them. It is in the tradition of my family.
I submitted my retirement plea one week after the end of the 1991 war. I explained that it would take our authorities six to seven years to be convinced to let me go, and by that time, my children would be reaching university age. They did not believe me.
I left Iraq illegally after exhausting all possibilities of leaving legally. I left without the knowledge nor the approval of the Iraqi government which put me and my family at great risk with the penalty of death.

Were you ever approached by any intelligence agency since you left Baghdad?

A few months after we arrived in Canada, agents from the Canadian Security Intelligence Service came to my house. They were polite. They suggested I keep a low profile - which I did until I discerned Bush's intent last August on using a sustained misinformation campaign about the Iraqi Nuclear weapons program to launch a criminal attack on the Iraqi people. I decided to speak out and to do my part to counter the criminal agenda of the neo-conservatives - the likes of Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, Kenneth Pollack and others in the State Department and think-tanks which support US policy.

What have you been doing in Canada since your arrival in 1998?
I worked as a computer network administrator for two years, was out of work for ten months, and now I am teaching computer networking at Seneca College in Toronto.
I am also writing my memoirs - I want to publish a book about my life in Iraq and my role in the nuclear weapon program.

Zina at Aljazeera.net