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Scientist accuses inspectors of Mafia-like tactics

Baghdad, Jan. 18 (Reuters): An Iraqi nuclear scientist accused “Mafia-like” UN inspectors today of trying to using his wife’s illness to persuade him to leave Iraq to be questioned about his work.

Physicist Faleh Hassan said an American inspector had approached him while UN experts searched his house on Thursday, saying: “Your wife is sick and we can take her outside Iraq for treatment. You can accompany her.”

“But I said: ‘No, thank you’,” he added.

Hassan told reporters at his house that he understood from the conversation that the inspector had wanted to interview him abroad. The US has pressed the UN inspectors, hunting for nuclear, chemical and biological weapons in Iraq, to take scientists abroad to make them feel safer, believing the intelligence they could give could be crucial.

Hassan, 55, said the inspectors had been “Mafia-like”, searching even his bedrooms and asking him and his family “silly” questions.

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