On Tuesday, Iraq confirmed to the UN that ISIS militants had control of Saddam Hussein’s former chemical-weapons stronghold. Now Iraq is saying that the Sunni insurgents also overran the University of Mosul last month on their way to Baghdad and pilfered nuclear materials used for scientific research, Reuters reports. Iraq's ambassador to the UN says the rebels got their hands on about 88 pounds of uranium compounds and that these materials could be smuggled out of the country or "used in manufacturing weapons of mass destruction," according to his letter to the UN.
Reference to possible WMDs in Iraq raises an uncomfortably familiar red flag, notes the New York Times. But the uranium in question apparently isn’t enriched, but a "low-grade" material that "would not present a significant safety, security, or nuclear proliferation risk," according to a spokeswoman for UN nuclear regulator IAEA. A US official "familiar with security matters" expressed similar sentiments, saying he was unaware of the news causing alarm among US authorities. Just Monday, Iraq pledged to take part in the IAEA’s nuclear convention to control and protect nuclear facilities.