U.N. Team to Shield Iraq's Arms Suppliers; Firms from All over World, Including U.S., Have Provided Technology in past.(NATION)

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Byline: Bill Gertz, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

U.N. arms inspectors will not disclose the identities of foreign suppliers to Iraq's weapons programs, but past arms transfers have been sent from a range of companies in Russia and in China, as well as in Europe and the United States.

U.S. officials familiar with the report said that it consists mainly of declarations made to the United Nations in the years leading up to 1998, when inspectors were blocked from returning after a U.S. bombing raid.

According to the private Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control, Iraq's suppliers of goods related to chemical, biological and nuclear weapons and missiles include European, Asian and South American companies, as well as U.S. firms.

The project has documented hundreds of public sales of equipment and material in the years before the 1991 Persian Gulf war as well as during the 1991 to 1998 period when dual-use and military equipment was banned.

Among the main suppliers in the past were German companies that provided Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's military with nuclear and missile technology.

Swiss firms also have sent Iraq missile-fuel production equipment and nuclear-related equipment, and one Italian company provided a plutonium-extraction laboratory.

France assisted Iraq with its Osirak nuclear reactor, which was bombed by Israeli warplanes, and Brazil helped with equipment related to missiles and nuclear arms.

The International Atomic Energy Agency, which is working with Hans Blix's U.N. weapons inspectors, also documented nuclear-arms equipment it found in Iraq after the 1991 war.

The goods included 60 machines that shape metal into centrifuge parts that were produced by the German companies Dorries, H&H Metalform, Kieserling & Albrecht, Leifeld and Magdeburg, Britain's Matrix Churchill and the Swiss company Schaublin.

U.S. and German companies were found to have provided mass spectrometers, which monitor bomb-fuel production, and Sweden's Metallextraktion AB had sold plutonium-extraction equipment.

A Japanese NEC mainframe computer was found in Iraq that was to be used in processing nuclear-bomb codes, and French company Sciaky had supplied a special welder used to make centrifuges.

The Wisconsin Project also has documented sales to Iraq of equipment used by the Iraqi Atomic Energy Commission, which was in charge of Iraq's nuclear-arms program. …