‘Nuclear Triggers’ Came in Mail, Iraq Embassy Asserts
The Iraqi Embassy today handed over to British authorities electronic devices marked as “nuclear triggers” that it claimed to have received through the mail.
The embassy, whose government recently denied involvement in an alleged plot to smuggle nuclear bomb triggers, labeled the latest incident part of a campaign of “Zionist aggression against Iraq.”
The Foreign Office said it forwarded the items to the Defense Ministry for experts to judge their authenticity.
British authorities in March confiscated 40 components at Heathrow Airport that could be used to trigger nuclear devices. The devices were bound for Baghdad. One Iraqi was deported, and three people are awaiting trial on charges of violating export laws.
Iraqi President Saddam Hussein has denied any link to the event and said his nation has no ambitions to build an atomic arsenal. He claimed last month, however, that his technicians had developed components with a similar capability to those that were seized.
An anonymous package arrived at the embassy by regular mail Friday containing about 20 electronic devices labeled as “nuclear triggers,” Iraqi Charge d’Affaires Zuhair Abrahaim said.
“I am not an electrician, but it looked very strange, and certainly we felt it was one of the plans to put Iraq in a very difficult situation,” he said. “That is why we have handed it over to the Foreign Office.”
An Iraqi statement said the embassy was “fully aware of the intention of certain circles to involve Iraq and harm its reputation in order to create circumstances suitable for a further cover for Zionist aggression against Iraq.”
The diplomat said he had “no doubts” that the Israeli government was linked to the purported slander campaign.
Jerusalem and Baghdad are archenemies. Israeli warplanes nine years ago destroyed the Osiraq nuclear reactor plant near Baghdad, a facility the Israelis believed was being used to produce material needed for atomic weapons.
Abrahaim said the embassy could not get an appointment with British officials during the weekend, so they delivered the devices today.
“Of course, they were astonished,” he said. “I am sure that they will investigate the matter, and we just wanted to inform the public.”
A Foreign Office spokesman said the package had been delivered by Abrahaim, who has been Baghdad’s senior envoy in London since both nations withdrew their ambassadors in March after Iraq executed a British-based journalist for alleged spying. London’s ambassador returned to Baghdad last week.
Abrahaim spent 30 minutes with Roger Tomkys, the deputy undersecretary, he said.