Did Russia Sell CAB Equipment To Iraq
In 1995-96 !?
UN Found Document Showing 1995 Russia-Iraq Deal
Russians Mum On Charge - Refuse Comment
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - United Nations inspectors in Iraq found evidence of a 1995 agreement by the Russian government to sell Iraq sophisticated equipment that could be used to develop biological weapons, the Washington Post reported Thursday.
The newspaper, quoting unnamed sources, said the inspectors in the autumn of 1997 seized a confidential document prepared by Iraqi officials that described lengthy negotiations leading to a deal worth millions of dollars.
Moscow has not replied to a U.N. request made six weeks ago for information about the deal, which included a 5,000-liter fermentation vessel that would ostensibly be used to make protein for animal feed, according to the report. The newspaper said inspectors were uncertain if Iraq received the equipment.
Iraq is permitted to import some so-called dual-use equipment connected with food and medicine, providing the item is approved by the Security Council's sanctions committee. The United States, a member of the committee, has delayed or blocked more contracts than any other country.
The sources also told the newspaper that U.S. intelligence agencies had privately warned U.N. officials that Russian intelligence operatives were spying on the United Nations Special Commission on Iraq and its personnel in New York and overseas.
The agencies told the U.N. officials that the Russian spy agency may have passed some of the information directly to Iraq, the newspaper said.
The Post said several U.S. officials confirmed that the FBI was aware of the Russian intelligence operation, the Post said. A spokesman for the Russian mission to the United Nations declined comment, the Post reported.
The U.N.'s discovery of the document provoked concern that Russia's recent diplomatic drive to help diffuse the latest crisis over U.N. weapons inspections may be motivated more by self-interest than a desire to avert a military strike.
``People are suspicious that there really is some reason they (the Iraqis) don't want us to find stuff out,'' one diplomat told the Post, but asked not to be identified.
The 5,000-liter fermentation vessel that Moscow agreed to sell Iraq in 1995 for use in making single-cell animal protein was 10 times larger than the biggest vessel Iraq has admitted to using to brew an arsenal of deadly germs. ``It's dual-purpose equipment. That's exactly what you would need for a large-scale biological plant,'' the newspaper quoted one source as saying.

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