Report: Iraq exported missile components
U.N. monitors scrap metal shipments
NEW YORK (CNN) -- Iraq has exported about 130,000 tons of scrap metal to Jordanian trading companies following the U.S.-led invasion, including SA-2 missile engines and equipment that could have been used to make banned weapons, according to U.N. weapons inspectors.
In a report to be presented Wednesday to the U.N. Security Council, the arms experts from the U.N. Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC), said they are continuing to monitor scrap yards in Jordan and other countries.
The inspectors, who left Iraq before the fighting began in March 2003, said they are concerned that several sites in Iraq, where weapons of mass destruction could have been produced, have been plundered. Using satellite imagery, they also have determined that some sites were razed.
The Bush administration argued that Iraq was able to produce weapons of mass destruction -- or already had -- in justifying the war.
"The systematic removal of items subject to monitoring impacts the Commission's ability to maintain an accurate and up to date assessment of Iraq's capabilities," the report says.
"The fate of the equipment and materials is unknown (except for those which have been identified in scrap yards outside of Iraq)."
The first scrap metals began arriving in Jordan in June 2003. The export of stainless steel and other more valuable alloys began later in the northern summer and continued in 2004.
Scrap company managers estimated that between June 2003 and June 2004, 130,000 tons of Iraqi scrap metal passed through Jordan's largest free trade zone. Iraq also exported scrap metal to other bordering nations, as well as to Europe, North Africa and Asia.
Among the items discovered at the Jordanian scrap yards were 20 SA-2 missile engines, a solid propellant mixing vessel tagged by UNMOVIC during its 2002-2003 inspection activities in Iraq, parts of an SA-2 air frame and booster and four chemical-related vessels tagged as dual-use items -- for legitimate civilian or illicit military use.
"The Commission's experts were able to confirm this information by comparing the serial numbers of the UN tags still attached to the vessels with information in the UNMOVIC database," the report says.
Many of the items are to be destroyed.
The inspectors also said that one of their priorities was to investigate Iraq's program for remotely piloted and unmanned planes, or drones. After Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, the Security Council prohibited Iraq from developing ballistic missiles capable of exceeding a range of 93 miles (150 km) -- a ban aimed at protecting Israel.
The prohibition later was expanded to include drones.
UNMOVIC had been concerned that the Remotely Piloted Vehicle-20, RPV-20, had the potential to exceed the 93-mile limit. The inspectors determined that there was no evidence that such modifications were done or planned.
"UNMOVIC found no technical evidence that Iraq had achieved prohibited ranges or of the development of RPV/UAV systems for the delivery of CBW agent," according to the report.