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CNN AMERICAN MORNING WITH PAULA ZAHN

Experts: Range of Iraq Missiles Exceeds Limits

Aired February 13, 2003 - 07:05   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Now back to that report that Iraq has missiles that can fly much farther than the U.N. allows. That conclusion comes from a panel of arms experts.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair says the discovery could be -- quote -- "a significant breach."

Well, Iraq denies that report.

Let's turn to Rym Brahimi, who joins us from Baghdad with the very latest from there.

Good morning -- Rym.

RYM BRAHIMI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you, Paula.

Well, the Al Samoud 2 missile is the one that was being examined by that panel, along with another one called the Al Fatah (ph), but the issue here is with the Al Samoud 2. Now, that missile system apparently can go farther than its 150 -- or 93-mile range that's authorized by the United Nations, but Iraq is saying that's not exactly the case.

Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz arrived in Rome. He told reporters that in fact it was not a serious violation. He says those missiles actually didn't have guidance systems to weigh them down, and if it had a guidance system, well, it wouldn't exceed much more. He said that as it were, they had only exceeded some three to six miles of the authorized range.

Now, that missile system was declared by Iraq in its December the 7th declaration, and it was also discussed by Hans Blix, the chief U.N. weapons inspector. He said that on 13 occasions out of the 40 times it was tested, it had exceeded the authorized range.

The next question is what happens? Well, Hans Blix could either decide to destroy those missiles or part of those missile systems. But ultimately when he goes to the U.N. Security Council, there's a bigger question that's going to be at stake, Paula, and that question will be: Is the inspection process working? And that's for the United Nations Security Council to discuss based on Hans Blix's assessment of Iraq's cooperation -- Paula.

ZAHN: And that meeting is going to be open and televised, and here at CNN, we will be covering it live.

Rym Brahimi, thanks so much. TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com.




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