U.K. scientists to train chemical weapons disposal teams in Iraq

Scientists from the United Kingdom will train Iraqi chemical weapons disposal teams to rid the stockpiles of chemical weapons produced in the country by Saddam Hussein’s regime.

The United Kingdom Ministry of Defense will train the disposal teams at its facility in Porton Down, Wiltshire.

Nick Harvey, the defense minister of the United Kingdom, said that the country was happy to support Iraq, BBC reports.

“We were glad to support Iraq when it joined the Chemical Weapons Convention in 2009,” Harvey said, according to BBC. “One of the key obligations of member states is to destroy any chemical weapons it possesses, so the UK is delighted to be able to help Iraq by providing world-leading expertise and high-quality training to Iraqi personnel involved in this difficult and dangerous task.”

The chemical weapons are located in two sealed bunkers at the Al Muthanna Chemical Weapons Complex, a site located in the western desert 80 kilometers northwest of Baghdad. The facility was the primary manufacturing plant for chemical munitions and agents during the rule of Saddam Hussein. Most of the weapons were destroyed after the completion of the first Gulf War.

The weapons were used during the Iran-Iraq war between 1980 and 1988. In 1988, the chemical weapons were used against the Kurds in Halabja in an attack that killed between 3,200 and 5,000 people, according to BBC.

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