Head of French Atomic Agency Says Iraq Could Not Have Used Reactor to Build Bomb

Michel Pecqueur, president of the French Atomic Energy Commission, said today that the French-built Iroqi nuclear reactor destroyed by an Israeli air attack June 7 could not have been used, within the forseeable future, for military purposes.

Pecqueur revealed that France and Iraq had an agreement providing for French control of the reactor for a ten year period that began in 1979. “We (the French) had a foot inside the reactor and were able to keep a careful check on its activism,” he said. He observed that “to exploit the Osiriak (reactor) for military purposes, Iraq would have had to dismiss the French staff. In such an event France would have stopped immediately the deliveries of enriched uranium fuels” to Iraq.

Meanwhile, France’s Jewish community is showing the signs of displeasure with the new administration of President Francois Mitterrand. Although no Jewish organizations have expressed criticism of the new regime, individual leaders have indicated privately that they are unhappy over France’s call in the UN Security Council yesterday for condemnation of the Israeli air strike on Iraq and a demand that Israel pay reparations for the damage. They also complain of Foreign Minister Claude Cheysson’s recent reference to the Palestinians’ “sacred right” to a homeland of their own.

By Edwin Eytan

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