The U.S. policy on Iraq is not to disarm the nation but to push for “regime removal,” a former U.N. weapons inspector said Wednesday in Tokyo.

Scott Ritter, an outspoken opponent of the likely U.S.-led war on Iraq, said it is unlikely that Iraq possesses weapons of mass destruction and accused the administration of President George W. Bush of violating international law in its effort to build a case for war.

Ritter, who spent seven years through 1998 as a weapons inspector in Iraq, said his inspection team confirmed that up to 95 percent of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction and 100 percent of its production facilities for such weapons had been eliminated.

“If Iraq has weapons of mass destruction today, they would have needed to reconstitute the manufacture base since 1998,” Ritter told a gathering at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan. “And no one has provided any evidence that substantiates the allegation.”

He also dismissed concerns over the chemical and biological weapons listed in the report submitted by Hans Blix, head of the U.N. Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission, on Jan. 27 as being based on “presumption.”

Evidence obtained to date has only shown that Iraq last possessed liquid-bulk anthrax in 1991 and chemical agents between 1983 and 1988, he said. Liquid-bulk anthrax has a shelf-life of three

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