Top Iraqi N-scientist surrenders: US official
Jaffar al Jaffar, a top nuclear scientist, turned himself in over the past few days, the official said on Sunday, speaking on condition of anonymity.india Updated: Apr 14, 2003 15:06 IST
A top Iraqi nuclear scientist has surrendered in Iraq, a US official has said as US forces stepped up a search for Iraqis who can shed light on the country's weapons of mass destruction programs.
Jaffar al Jaffar, a top nuclear scientist, turned himself in over the past few days, the official said on Sunday, speaking on condition of anonymity.
His surrender follows that of Lieutenant General Amir Saadi, Saddam's chief scientific adviser, who turned himself in on Saturday with the help of Germany's ZDF television network.
Jaffar "certainly would know about their nuclear program as possible locations of nuclear related facilities, and also would know a lot of people associated with Iraq's nuclear program, as well as likely other aspects of the WMD program," said the official.
"Hopefully he will be more forthcoming and candid than he has been to date," said the official.
Saadi, for his part, told ZDF in an interview that Iraq no longer had weapons of mass destruction.
"Hopefully what he says in private will be different than what he has been saying public now that his circumstances have changed," said the US official.
Charges that Iraq was developing banned chemical and biological biological weapons and trying to revive a nuclear capability in defiance of UN resolutions served as the primary US justification for invading Iraq.
Contrary to US expectations, though, Iraq did not use chemical or biological weapons in the 23-day war, and so far US forces have not uncovered either caches of banned weapons or hard evidence of a secret weapons programme.