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write to the Guardian Weekly

The current edition of The Guardian Weekly (August 26 - September 1)
reproduces the letter from Hazhir Teimourian originally printed in The
Guardian on 16th August/

I suggest anyone who sent a response to The Guardian, make the necessary
modifications [ie. change any references to The Guardian to The Guardian
Weekly] and send their responses to The Guardian Weekly at

Here's what I've sent to The Guardian Weekly :

Hazhir Teimourian has most of his facts wrong (Iraqi children at Saddam's
mercy, Letters, August 26th).

Iraq is not permitted "$5.2 bn [worth of oil sales] every six months for
humanitarian imports". Despite Teimourian's explicit statement to the
contrary this figure (the ceiling imposed on oil sales under the UN's
'oil-for-food' programme) does *not* take into account the fact that 34% of
all revenues raised are allocated *by the UN* for purposes other than
humanitarian provision for the Iraqi people - namely the Compensation Fund
and to pay for UN expenses.

Similarly the statement that "according to the UN, about half of all food
and medicines brought into the country under the Oil-for-Food programme
decayed in government warehouses" bears little resemblance to reality. It is
certainly true that the UN has documented the "accumulation" of medical
supplies (but *not* food) in warehouses in Iraq. However, to a significant
extent the problems in distributing and installing these supplies appear to
be sanctions-related : shortage of transport, poor communications, lack of
material-handling equipment and the absence (in the center/south) of money
to fund training and participation in the programme (a so-called "cash
component"). There is no evidence of deliberate obstruction on the part of
the Iraqi government in the distribution of these supplies.

Anyone wishing to check the facts for themselves can consult the UN's own
documentation on the "oil-for-food" programme website :

Milan Rai
voices in the wilderness uk
12 Trinity Road
London N2 8JJ

tel. 0181 - 444 1605

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