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IAEA Investigating Whether Iraq Developing Nuclear Bomb

April 12, 1995 GMT

UNITED NATIONS (AP) _ Reports that Iraq is developing nuclear weapons in violation of a U.N. ban are being investigated by international inspectors.

The International Atomic Energy Agency will advise the U.N. Security Council of its probe in a report this week, according to sources who spoke Tuesday on condition of anonymity.

The IAEA, the U.N. nuclear agency, reports to the council every six months.Details of the investigation were not available.

Another team of U.N. inspectors has reported that Iraq may be making germ warfare agents.

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Confirmation of either program would be a serious setback to Iraq’s efforts to ease economic sanctions imposed after it invaded Kuwait in 1990.

The Security Council cannot lift the sanctions until it is satisfied that Iraq has complied with disarmament resolutions passed after the 1991 Gulf War.

The Sunday Times of London reported last week that an Iraqi scientist sent the newspaper documents suggesting Iraq was concealing nuclear material and trying to find scientists to work with it.

The scientist, Dr. Khidir Abdul Abas Hamza, defected to Greece in February but then disappeared, the newspaper said.

The IAEA got copies of four pages faxed to the Sunday Times. IAEA spokesman David Kyd said Tuesday the documents have the ``ring of authenticity.″

``They’re not something we could dismiss out of hand as being totally implausible,″ he said.