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Iraq

Volume 171: debated on Friday 27 April 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when Her Majesty's Government first learnt of attempts by Iraq to obtain krytrons in the United States for potential use in nuclear warhead triggers.

The interception of a consignment of capacitors bound for Iraq on 28 March at Heathrow was the result of co-operation between the United States and United Kingdom customs authorities over a period of several months. We are not aware of any attempt by Iraq to obtain krytrons in the United States.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the status of the Iraqi nuclear programme.

Iraq is a party to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty and, as such, has undertaken not to develop nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices. We expect Iraq to abide by her international legal obligations.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if the United Kingdom will raise the violation by Iraq of its commitment not to obtain nuclear weapons capability as a party to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty at the next meeting of parties to the treaty.

Parties to the non-proliferation treaty are currently meeting in Geneva for the third preparatory committee to the NPT review conference. Since the committee is largely devoted to administrative matters, we do not consider it an appropriate forum in which to raise this matter. We would, however, expect the interception at Heathrow of a consignment of capacitors bound for Iraq on 28 March to be discussed at the review conference on 20 August-14 September.