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Iraq and weapons of mass destruction

Research and development of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Iraq actively researched and later employed weapons of mass destruction (WMD) from 1962 to 1991, when it destroyed its chemical weapons stockpile and halted its biological and nuclear weapon programs as required by the United Nations Security Council.[1] The fifth president of Iraq, Saddam Hussein, was internationally condemned for his use of chemical weapons during the 1980s campaign against Iranian and Kurdish civilians during and after the Iran–Iraq War. In the 1980s, Saddam pursued an extensive biological weapons program and a nuclear weapons program, though no nuclear bomb was built. After the Gulf War (1990–1991), the United Nations (with the Government of Iraq) located and destroyed large quantities of Iraqi chemical weapons and related equipment and materials; Iraq ceased its chemical, biological and nuclear programs.[2]

In the early 2000s, U.S. President George W. Bush and UK Prime Minister Tony Blair both asserted that Saddam Hussein's weapons programs were still actively building weapons and that large stockpiles of WMDs were hidden in Iraq. Inspections by the UN to resolve the status of unresolved disarmament questions restarted between November 2002 and March 2003,[3] under United Nations Security Council Resolution 1441, which demanded Hussein give "immediate, unconditional and active cooperation" with UN and IAEA inspections.[4] The United States asserted that Hussein's frequent lack of cooperation was a breach of Resolution 1441, but failed to convince the United Nations Security Council to pass a new resolution authorizing the use of force.[5][6][7] Despite this, Bush asserted peaceful measures could not disarm Iraq of the weapons that he alleged it possessed and he launched a second Gulf War instead. A year later, the United States Senate officially released the Senate Report of Pre-war Intelligence on Iraq which concluded that many of the Bush Administration's pre-war statements about Iraqi WMD were misleading and not supported by the underlying intelligence. United States–led inspections later found that Iraq had earlier ceased active WMD production and stockpiling; the war was called by many, including 2008 Republican presidential nominee John McCain, a "mistake".[1]

Iraq signed the Geneva Protocol in 1931, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1969, and the Biological Weapons Convention in 1972, but did not ratify it until June 11, 1991. Iraq ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention in January 2009, with its entry into force for Iraq coming a month later on February 12.[8]