Al-Sudani told IAEA chief

Iraq to embark on peaceful nuclear program

BAGHDAD – Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al-Sudani told the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Rafael Mariano Grossi on Monday that Iraq intended to build nuclear reactors for peaceful purposes.

“This stems from our conviction that nuclear energy should be a source of prosperity, not for developing lethal weapons,” Al-Sudani told Grossi during a meeting in Baghdad, according to a statement from Al-Sudani’s office obtained by 964media. “We are looking forward to re-entering the field of peaceful nuclear applications.”

Iraq submitted its requirements for joining the Nuclear Safety Convention and the Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management at the end of last year.

Al-Sudani told Grossi that Iraq looked forward to IAEA’s assistance in developing related programs and projects.

Grossi, on his part, emphasized the IAEA’s priority of establishing a peaceful nuclear program in Iraq during the meeting. He highlighted the utilization of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, particularly in health, agriculture, soil desalination, and clean energy.

Grossi extended an invitation to Al-Sudani for the upcoming Nuclear Energy Summit in Brussels later this month and expressed support for “a roadmap for Iraq’s development and the acquisition of nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.”

The IAEA Director General assured that Iraq’s renewed nuclear initiative would adhere strictly to international standards, highlighting the significance of moving beyond past challenges.

An Iraqi delegation is scheduled to visit the IAEA headquarters in Vienna to develop a roadmap for supporting this peaceful program.

Additionally, the IAEA recently launched the Rays of Hope initiative to develop training, research, and capacity building related to peaceful nuclear energy uses, supporting those needing clean nuclear energy. The agency also plans to finance and support Iraqi institutions involved in radiation therapy to enhance their capabilities.

Also on Monday, Iraq’s Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, Naeem Al-Aboudi, highlighted the country’s progress towards acquiring clean nuclear energy in a statement today.

Speaking at a press conference monitored by 964media in Baghdad, Al-Aboudi said, “Iraq was at the forefront of nations seeking peaceful nuclear energy and is fully prepared at this time to enter the system of those countries.”

Cooperation with the IAEA encompasses various aspects, including significant progress in the technical battle against cancer and initiatives such as a zero-power nuclear reactor for student training, intended to evolve into a research reactor.

Collaboration also extends to training future leaders for oversight of the Iraqi Atomic Energy Commission. Additionally, plans involve addressing the legacy of nuclear waste, establishing a nuclear reactor for electricity generation, and exploring peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

Al-Aboudi disclosed intentions for an Iraqi delegation to visit small modular reactor (SMR) stations, emphasizing broader cooperation with the IAEA in addressing environmental challenges.

Under Saddam Hussein’s rule, Iraq actively pursued nuclear weapons until the 1991 Gulf War. Scrutiny intensified under United Nations Security Council Resolution 687, leading to the dismantlement of Iraq’s nuclear weapons program by 1994. However, Iraq’s refusal to cooperate with the IAEA in 1998 raised concerns.

A second inspection process in 2002 was interrupted by the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. Despite pre-war fears, subsequent investigations found no evidence of Iraq reviving its nuclear weapons program. The post-Saddam Iraqi government has since cooperated with nuclear nonproliferation efforts, signing international treaties like the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty and the IAEA Additional Protocol in 2008.