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HEADLINE: Cuban, Iranian inspectors banned by USA The US government has struck out the names of Cuban and Iranian nationals from a list of United Nations arms inspectors visiting US chemical arms facilities under the Chemical Weapons Convention (CW). The USA does not have diplomatic relations with either country and the objections have apparently been raised for political and security reasons. Both nations are also on a list of seven countries the US State Department considers "terrorist states". In rejecting Cubans and Iranians, the USA has exercised its right to determine the composition of the UN arms inspection team currently probing US chemical weapons facilities. Under the rules of the CWC, any qualified expert included in a list of arms inspectors shall be regarded as designated unless a state party declares its non-acceptance no later than 30 days after its receipt of the list. The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) employs about 126 inspectors and assistants who undertake inspections mostly in countries that are declared possessors of chemical and biological agents. The US is reported to have about 30,000 tons of chemical agents and Russia about 40,000 tons. "Ironically, the US is exercising the same right it refuses to concede to the Iraqis," an Asian diplomat told JDW, "The US may have the right to do so under the existing Convention, but it is interesting to note that Iraq is virtually fighting for the same principle," he said. The current deadlock in Baghdad stems from an Iraqi demand to determine the composition of the UN arms inspection team. Since the inspection teams consist mainly of UK and US nationals, Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz has complained they are "dominated by Anglo-Saxons." Aziz has accused UN inspector Scott Ritter of being "an American spy". The 44-member team includes 28 who are classified as arms inspectors. Of these, 10 are US nationals, five from the UK, three from France, two Austrians and one each from Bosnia-Herzegovina, Brazil, Finland, Germany, India, Ireland, Sweden and Switzerland. Iraqi UN Ambassador Nizar Hamdoon told reporters that his government was protesting that the presence of nationals of the US and UK "is affecting the impartiality of those teams because of the very well-known hostile American and British policy towards Iraq". © Jane's Information Group 1998 -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To be removed/added, email firstname.lastname@example.org, NOT the whole list. Archived at http://linux.clare.cam.ac.uk/~saw27/casi/discuss.html