Saddam continues to attach great importance to the possession of weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles which he regards as being the basis for Iraq’s regional power. He is determined to retain these capabilities;
Iraq continues to work on developing nuclear weapons,in breach of its obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty and in breach of UNSCR 687. Uranium has been sought from Africa that has no civil nuclear application in Iraq.
Iraq’s known holdings of processed uranium are under IAEA supervision. But there is intelligence that Iraq has sought the supply of significant quantities of uranium from Africa. Iraq has no active civil nuclear power programme or nuclear power plants and therefore has no legitimate reason to acquire uranium.
In preparing the dossier, the UK consulted the US. The CIA advised caution about any suggestion that Iraq had succeeded in acquiring uranium from Africa, but agreed that there was evidence that it had been sought.
The range of evidence described above underlay the relevant passage in the Prime Minister’s statement in the House of Commons on 24 September 2002 that: In addition,we know that Saddam has been trying to buy significant quantiti es of uranium from Africa,although we do not know whether he has been successful .
We conclude that, on the basis of the intelligence assessments at the time, covering both Niger and the Democratic Republic of Congo, the statements on Iraqi attempts to buy uranium from Africa in the Government’s dossier, and by the Prime Minister in the House of Commons, were well-founded. By extension, we conclude also that the statement in President Bush’s State of the Union Address of 28 January 2003 that: The British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa. was well-founded.
We also note that, because the intelligence evidence was inconclusive, neither the Government’s dossier nor the Prime Minister went on to say that a deal between the Governments of Iraq and Niger for the supply of uranium had been signed, or uranium shipped.
We have been told that it was not until early 2003 that the British Government became aware that the US (and other states) had received from a journalistic source a number of documents alleged to cover the Iraqi procurement of uranium from Niger. Those documents were passed to the IAEA, which in its update report to the United Nations Security Council in March 2003 determined that the papers were forgeries: