Saddam Approached Indian Scientist to Build Nuclear Bomb: Report

Iraqi President Saddam Hussein approached a leading Indian nuclear scientist to help Baghdad build a nuclear bomb in 1978.

The offer was made to Raja Ramanna, a scientist and the then junior minister for defence, who was in the Iraqi capital for a week as Saddam's personal guest, the Hindustan Times said, quoting from a new book 'Saddam's Bomb' written by two British journalists.

The scientist was given a tour of Iraq's main nuclear facility at Tuwaitha and afterwards Saddam invited him to his office.

"You have done enough for your country," Saddam said, according to the book. "Don't go back. Stay here and take over our nuclear programme. I will pay you whatever you want," Hussein told Ramanna.

The report, quoting Ramanna's friends, said the scientist was shocked by the Iraqi proposal and fled Baghdad as soon as he could.

The Iraqi president was annoyed when India conducted its first nuclear test in 1974, the book said.

"If the Hindis can do it, why can't we?" the book quotes Saddam as saying soon after the nuclear test, which was supervised by Ramanna.

Source: agencies

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