Iraq Chemical Weapons

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August 11, 2008

The next priority issue is the extent of Iraq’s attempts to produce VX. VX is the most toxic of all known chemical warfare agents. Iraq undertook large-scale efforts to produce VX.

These efforts comprised R&D activities, procurement, production of precursors, modification of a production facility, production of VX, and weaponization.

The verification of Iraq’s VX-related activities is complicated due to the unilateral destruction of all traces of such activities, including remaining VX and its precursors, carried out secretly by Iraq.

The existence of large-scale VX activities was acknowledged by Iraq only in 1995, when UNSCOM confronted Iraq with evidence of such activities.


The current level of verification of Iraq’s declarations could be characterized as following (slide # 8):

Declared R&D activities in 1985-1990, were verified by UNSCOM only up to 1988.

Declared procurement in 1987-1988 was verified, however, evidence of undeclared procurement was found by UNSCOM.

Verification of production of VX precursors revealed significant discrepancies between Iraq’s declarations and information available from Iraq’s documents found by UNSCOM: production of precursors was continued in 1989 when production of VX, according to Iraq, had already been stopped.

Iraq’s declarations on the modification of the VX production facility were verified.

Declared production of VX could be verified only for the period 1987-1988, but not in 1990.

Weaponization of VX could not be verified.


Main outstanding issues on VX remain in the areas where Iraq did not provide documents and verifiable evidence to support its declarations (slide #9).

In particular, Iraq’s declarations on the production of VX in 1990, weaponization and disposition of VX are not supported by documents or other evidence which could be verified by UNSCOM.

The following concerns were outlined in conclusion of the international expert team to the technical evaluation meeting on VX in February 1998 (slide # 10):

Iraq had precursors sufficient for the production of 200 tonnes of VX, which is incongruent with declared quantity of produced VX–3.9 tonnes.

At the R&D level, Iraq obtained sophisticated technology for the production of VX. This is incompatible with Iraq’s statement that the industrial production of VX had failed.

In contrast to poor stability of VX as declared by Iraq, UNSCOM, through its sampling activities, found traces of a VX stabilizer.

These facts, in combination with Iraq’s attempts to conceal the VX-related activities until 1995, lead the international expert team [at] the technical evaluation meeting to the conclusion that Iraq was able to produce VX in quantity and had obtained the VX production technology…

Material Balance of Equipment is the Last Priority Issue in the Chemical Weapons area (slide #12):

UNSCOM continued verification of the issue of material balance of CW production equipment after several pieces of undeclared equipment from the Muthanna state establishment, Iraq’s prime CW production site, had been found by UNSCOM in 1996.

In August 1997, Iraq, in responding to the Commission’s questions, found and admitted some 200 additional pieces of production equipment from Muthanna. This equipment was destroyed under UNSCOM supervision in 1997.

The investigation of the history of this event is important to assure that all equipment from Iraq’s CW programme has been accounted for and is covered by the declared material balance.

Iraq explained that this equipment was removed from Muthanna in 1990 and was stored in 20 shipping containers at Taji in 1991-1996. UNSCOM’s verification revealed that these explanations were incorrect.

Taji Electrical Light Bulb Factory

In 1994, in contrast to Iraq’s statement, there was no evidence of shipping containers with equipment at Taji light bulb factory (slide # 13)

However, 20 shipping containers appeared at this facility in mid-1995 (imagery # 12)

It may suggest that Iraq did not provide the full story related to the hidden equipment. This leads to the necessity to check the material balance of equipment once again.

Recently, in May 1998, Iraq provided further clarifications on the issue of disposition of CW production equipment.

The commission is continuing the verification and, hopefully soon, would be able to finalize this issue . . .

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