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British intelligence review includes Iran

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

London, Feb 3, IRNA -- Foreign Secretary Jack Straw Tuesday announced 
a wide-ranging review of British intelligence on weapons of mass 
destruction (WMD), focusing on the failure to find arms in Iraq, but 
also extending to other `countries of concern`, including Iran. 
"In the intervening period since the Iraq war began, there have, 
however, been events elsewhere which have greatly increased anxieties 
about the proliferation of WMD, of the need for reliable intelligence 
and effective international action," Straw said. 
He told MPs that a committee of chosen Privy Councillors would 
`investigate the intelligence coverage available on WMD programs of 
countries of concern and on the global trade in WMD, taking into 
account what is now known about these programs`. 
The countries of concern were listed as including North Korea, 
Iran and Libya even though the focus of the review was the accuracy 
of pre-war intelligence on Iraqi WMD and to `examine any discrepancies
between the intelligence gathered`. 
The foreign secretary said that the review, which is being held in
secret, would also examine how British intelligence on Iraq was 
`evaluated and used by the Government before the conflict` and the 
discrepancies with the US-led Iraq Survey Group. 
The inquiry is being opposed by the Liberal Democrats because it 
does not include looking at the political decision to go to war. 
Britain`s third party also expressed reservations about the 
composition of the review panel, chaired by former Cabinet Secretary 
Lord Butler. 
The six-member committee most controversially includes Labor MP, 
Ann Taylor, who chairs the secretive Intelligence and Security 
Committee, and Conservative MP, Michael Mates, chairman of the 
parliamentary Northern Ireland committee. 
On the inclusion of reviewing intelligence on North Korea, Straw 
said that there were reports over the weekend that an individual had 
sold it nuclear secrets. 
On Iran, he said it had for a long time not reported `all that at 
it should have reported to the International Atomic Energy Authority 
under its Safeguards Agreement. Libya`, he said, `was in breach of its
obligations under the Non-Proliferation`. 
The review, which is due to be completed by the summer, is to make
`recommendations to the Prime Minister for the future on the 
gathering, evaluation and use of intelligence on WMD, in the light of 
the difficulties of operating in countries of concern`. 
The foreign secretary said the panel would also work closely with 
the US inquiry and the Iraq Survey Group and submit its conclusions in
a form for publication `along with any classified recommendations and 
The inquiry is the fourth related to last year`s war against Iraq 
and follows one by the Intelligence and Security Committee, by the 
Foreign Affairs Committee and the report published by Lord Hutton last
week on the circumstance leading to the death of arms inspector David 
Straw insisted that although the terms of reference of the three 
inquiries varied, a central theme of each `was whether the Government 
had acted improperly or dishonestly in using the intelligence 
available to it`. 
"Echoing the conclusions of the earlier reports, and in 
categorical terms, Lord Hutton made emphatic last week that such 
allegations were unfounded," he said, adding that the new inquiry 
would `not be revising the issues` already covered. 

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