Parts from about 130 destroyed Iraqi missiles were shipped to the United States on March 9 for analysis to determine if Iraqi missile destruction complies with the UN mandate that ended the Persian Gulf War.
The missiles, which Iraq said it destroyed in April 1991 without UN supervision, may have included operational Soviet rocket motors as required by UN Security Council Resolution 687. But the UN Special Commission (UNSCOM) charged with implementing the mandate, suspects that Iraq may have substituted worthless replicas. To verify Iraqi compliance, Ambassador Rolf Ekeus, head of UNSCOM, insisted on exhuming the missile parts for analysis by an international team of experts. The parts were sent via Bahrain on March 8 to a U.S. Department of Defense laboratory in Huntsville, Alabama, after an agreement for their removal was reached in Baghdad between Ekeus and Iraqi Deputy Prime Minsiter Tariq Aziz. UNSCOM expects metallurgical tests to show whether the missile parts came from functional Soviet produced systems, and whether critical components that Iraq cannot produce domestically were removed before the missiles were destroyed.