Baghdad, January 06: Iraqi officials are reportedly considering ways to force Israel to pay reparations for launching air strikes on the country's nuclear reactor near Baghdad.
"Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is looking into plans that would compel Tel Aviv to pay billions of dollars in compensations for its 1981 attack on the Tammuz nuclear reactor," an unnamed Iraqi parliament member told Deutsche Presse Agentur (DPA) on Tuesday.
He also noted, "Al-Maliki's appeal follows an answer received from the UN Secretariat by the government of Iraq on November 25, which says Iraq has a right to demand compensation for the damage Israel did to it with the attack on the reactor, through a neutral committee, which will assess the extent of the damage."
Mohammed said the cabinet had on November 25 approved a plan to seek redress through diplomatic channels, and to form a "neutral" committee to assess the value of the reparations it would seek.
The officials, leading the campaign, say they have based their case on United Nations Security Council Resolution 487, insisting that the official UN condemnation gives Baghdad the right to be compensated for what it has suffered.
Mohammed Naji Mohammed, a member of parliament with the United Iraqi Alliance coalition, is leading the campaign against Israel.
Israeli warplanes struck the Iraqi Tammuz nuclear reactor at Al-Tuweitha, near southern Baghdad, in a surprise attack code-named Operation Opera in June 1981. It was supposed to be modeled on France's 'Osiris' reactor and was thus dubbed 'Osirak' (Osiris+Iraq) by the French.
Israeli officials at the time claimed that the operation was aimed at preventing then dictator Saddam Hussein from using the reactor for the creation of nuclear weapons.
After the attack, however, the UN Security Council announced that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) had testified that its safeguards had been "satisfactorily applied" in Iraq.
The UN resolution had also called upon Israel to urgently place its nuclear facilities under IAEA safeguards. Tel Aviv, widely believed to have acquired some 200-300 nuclear warheads, has so far rejected the call.
The Iraqi lawmakers say they are seeking the adoption of the parliamentary resolution for the sake of the country's development and that the move is not a sign of support for the defunct Saddam regime.