Saddam says Iran threat to Iraq, docs say

July 3, 2009 at 7:41 AM
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WASHINGTON, July 3 (UPI) -- Ex-Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein told the FBI in 2004 he believed Iran was a greater threat to Iraq than to the United States, FBI documents indicate.

The recently released documents are of FBI interviews of Saddam when he was held by the U.S. military at Baghdad International Airport between February and June 2004, CNN reported Friday. About 100 pages of declassified secret interview summaries were obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request.

Saddam said he considered the Iranian threat so serious, it was the main reason he decided not to let U.N. weapons inspectors re-enter Iraq. He said he was more concerned about Iran uncovering Iraq's weaknesses than repercussions from the United States and the international community, and believed inspectors would have identified where Iranians could inflict maximum damage to Iraq.

Although Saddam had been a prisoner for several months, at one point in the FBI interview he said, "I am not the ex-president of Iraq. I am still the president of Iraq."

Saddam called al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden a "zealot" and said he never met or saw him. He also said the United States used the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks as justification to attack Iraq, CNN reported.

Despite the FBI interrogator's evidence of Iraq's contacts with bin Laden, Saddam said, "The Iraqi government did not cooperate with bin Laden" and the two "did not have the same belief or vision."

Saddam was executed in Iraq in 2006 after being convicted of charges related to the executions of 148 Iraqi Shiites.

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