International Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohammad ElBaradei has told UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan that satellite images of Iraq show that equipment and materials that could be used in the manufacture of nuclear weapons have disappeared from that country and can no longer be monitored for compliance with international proliferation standards. In a letter dated October 1 but only released online Tuesday, ElBaradei wrote that
The IAEA continues to be concerned about the widespread and apparently systematic dismantlement that has taken place at sites previously relevant to Iraqs nuclear programme and sites previously subject to ongoing monitoring and verification. The [satellite] imagery shows in many instances the dismantlement of entire buildings that housed high precision equipment (such as flow forming, milling and turning machines; electron beam welders; coordinate measurement machines) formerly monitored and tagged with IAEA seals, as well as the removal of equipment and materials (such as highstrength aluminium) from open storage areas.Read the full text of the letter here [PDF]. The UN News Center has more. The IAEA offers background on its work in Iraq.