Saddam accuses UN weapons inspectors of espionage

Iraqi President Saddam Hussein accused UN weapons inspectors of spying as he addressed the nation Monday to mark the 82nd anniversary of Iraq's armed forces.

According to Saddam, the inspectors are now showing greater interest in Iraq's conventional armaments that in its alleged weapons of mass destruction. Pressured by the U.S., they have begun to draw up lists of Iraqi scientists and to interview personnel at sites under examination, posing questions that have nothing to do with the UN mission, he said. He went on to classify such actions as "pure intelligence." Saddam Hussein accused the United States of plotting an act of aggression against Iraq, saying that nothing could foil such designs as effectively as his nation's steadfast readiness to confront the aggression. The Iraqi people are ready for any scenario the events may follow, he added emphatically.

The Iraqi leader labeled the U.S. threats to Iraq as snake hissing and dog barking. "We are on home turf, and the truth is on our side. They will prevail on whose side the truth is," Hussein emphasized. The Iraqis are confident of themselves and their capabilities, he remarked.

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