THE US claimed that Iraq's restrictions on United Nations inspectors was the reason it had to go to war. Now it occupies Iraq it has placed more limits on UN-appointed nuclear experts than Saddam Hussein did. The US has only allowed seven members of the International Atomic Energy Agency into Iraq.
The experts are restricted to one part of the Tuwaitha nuclear facility. Their assessment of the facility must be over in two weeks. US soldiers will accompany the experts everywhere they go. The experts will not be allowed to investigate reports of radioactive contamination in local towns and villages.
US leaders have made it clear that this visit sets no precedent for a UN presence in Iraq in the future. UN weapons and nuclear inspectors regularly visited the facility during 1991 to 1998. They also visited it between November last year and March, when Bush forced them out so he could launch a war. Israel bombed the Tuwaitha facility in 1981. The US and its allies bombed it during the Gulf War of 1991.
The UN is less welcome there than it was during the years of Saddam Hussein's regime because the US wants to dominate Iraq.