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Iraq to get IAEA help to develop peaceful nuclear programme, says agency head

March 18, 2024 at 4:46 pm

Rafael Mariano Grossi, President of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) gives a speech in Vienna, Austria. [Aşkın Kıyağan – Anadolu Agency]

The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) met Iraq’s prime minister in Baghdad on Monday as part of a visit to help the country develop a peaceful nuclear programme, Reuters has reported.

“We have discussed several projects in Iraq, including building a nuclear reactor for peaceful purposes,” Iraqi Education Minister Naim Al-Aboudi told reporters following a meeting between Rafael Grossi and Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al-Sudani.

Grossi said that a team of Iraqi experts would visit the IAEA headquarters in Vienna in a few days to hold meetings to “set out a road map for the Iraqi peaceful nuclear programme” amid growing interest in nuclear energy in the region, including among Arab Gulf countries. “We see that in the [United Arab] Emirates, we see that in Egypt, we will see that in Saudi Arabia and of course we should see it here in Iraq,” he told reporters.

Iraq once had three nuclear reactors in Tuwaitha, its main nuclear research site south of Baghdad. One was destroyed by an Israeli air raid in 1981 and the two others were hit by US warplanes in the 1991 Gulf War that followed Iraq’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait.

“Definitely,” said Grossi, “turning the page on this complex past is of the essence and we’re doing just that.”

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