'Iraq has expressed an interest in reviving its nuclear technology, bombed into oblivion by Israel in 1981 and the US ten years later. An Iraqi minister says Baghdad has contacted the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), based in Vienna, to seek its approval to relaunch a peaceful nuclear programme.
Even though Iraq is one of the world’s biggest oil producers, its Government says it is unable to secure the country’s electricity needs. Iraq’s first French-made reactor at Osirak was damaged by an Iranian raid in 1980 and destroyed by Israel a year later. Israel feared Saddam Hussein’s regime was trying to develop a nuclear bomb.
US aircraft demolished further nuclear facilities during the first Gulf War in 1991, and concerns over Saddam’s nuclear ambitions were one of the triggers for the second Gulf War and the US-led invasion. No weapons of mass destruction were found, as it became clear that Saddam had been bluffing about his nuclear capability.
Iraq’s new masters insist they have no intention of trying to develop nuclear bombs. “We are co-operating with the IAEA and expanding and defining areas of research where we can implement nuclear technology for peaceful means,” the Science and Technology Minister, Raid Fahmi, told the Guardian.'