Iraq Lawmakers to Seek Reparations for 1981 IAF Strike

Lawsuit seeks billions in damages for attack on nuclear reactor, uses UN resolution as basis for claim.

A group of Iraqi lawmakers are determined to press forward with their demands for reparations for a 1981 Israeli attack on an Iraqi nuclear reactor, Baghdad's daily al-Sabbah reported Thursday.

Mohammed Naji Mohammed, a member of parliament with the United Iraqi Alliance coalition, is leading a campaign for a parliamentary resolution obliging the Iraqi foreign ministry and courts to seek billions of dollars in reparations for an Israeli air strike on the Osiraq nuclear reactor.

"We will intensify the campaign in the coming period to prevent the Foreign Ministry from delaying attempts to seek compensation for the attack in accordance with existing international resolutions," Naji told al-Sabbah.

UN Security Council Resolution 487, passed in the wake of the attack, "strongly condemns" Israel's air strike against Iraq's Osiraq nuclear reactor in June 1981, and "considers that Iraq is entitled to appropriate redress for the destruction it has suffered, responsibility for which has been acknowledged by Israel."

Israeli officials at the time said they were concerned that the reactor could eventually be used to produce nuclear weapons for the regime led at the time by Saddam Hussein.

The Security Council, however, noted at the time that the international Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) had testified that its safeguards had been "satisfactorily applied" in Iraq.

Rather, the Security Council said, the Osiraq attack constituted "a serious threat to the entire safeguards regime" of the IAEA.

Subsequent UN Security Council resolutions "deplored" Iraq's noncompliance with the IAEA inspections regime, which the Security Council in 2002 called a "threat ... to international peace and security."

Naji's statements appeared as the outgoing head of the IAEA, Mohamed ElBaradei, lashed out at Israel for its lack of cooperation in uncovering the truth about an alleged nuclear reactor in Syria.