Hans Blix remembers the fateful run-up to the Iraq invasion well, a time of ratcheting tension and desperate diplomacy to try and avert a conflict, and also a time of secrets and lies when America and Britain conjured up the tale of Saddam Hussein’s hoard of weapons of mass destruction in justifying war.
As the United Nations chief weapons inspector for Iraq, Blix was in the eye of that storm. George W Bush and Tony Blair had to maintain that Baghdad possessed a secret arsenal, with the now infamous claim that Armageddon could be unleashed in 45 minutes. To do so they presented bogus “evidence”, published the dodgy dossier and dismissed the findings of the UN search teams on the ground.
Blix can see certain parallels between what happened to Iraq then and what is happening with Iran now. There are Donald Trump’s repeated threats to dismantle the nuclear agreement, a repetition of allegations against Iran and a refusal to listen to the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) when it says that Tehran is abiding by its commitments.