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|Antonia Molloy||July 11th 2014|
Iraq has told the United Nations that “terrorist groups” have seized nuclear materials used for scientific research at a university in the country's north. In a letter seen by Reuters, dated 8 July, the country appealed for help to “stave off the threat of their use by terrorists in Iraq or abroad”.
But the UN atomic agency said on Thursday it believed the nuclear material requisitioned by insurgents was “low grade” and did not pose a significant security risk. Iraq's UN Ambassador Mohamed Ali Alhakim told UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in the letter that nearly 40 kilogrammes (88 pounds) of uranium compounds were kept at Mosul University. “Terrorist groups have seized control of nuclear material at the sites that came out of the control of the state,” Alhakim wrote, adding that such materials “can be used in manufacturing weapons of mass destruction.”