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U.S. says Iraq still a nuclear threat

Calling for continued international resolve against Iraq, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said Wednesday that Baghdad retains 7,500 nuclear experts and the technical documents needed to make nuclear weapons.

"Containment has worked, but _ despite Iraq's present weakness _ the future threat has not been erased," Albright said.

For the United States to soften its policies before Iraq's behavior and intentions change would "allow the scorpion that bit us once to bite us again," she said.

Albright spoke to a gathering at Georgetown University, where she spent many years as a professor.

Under the terms of the Persian Gulf war cease-fire, Iraq is barred from developing or maintaining nuclear, chemical and biological weapons as well as long-range missiles.

Albright said that while Iraq's chemical and biological weapons production facilities have been destroyed, there is no convincing evidence that all the weapons themselves have been demolished.

Beyond that, she said, Iraq "retains more than 7,500 nuclear scientists and technicians as well as the technical documents related to the production of nuclear weapons."

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