The war in Iraq has put neither Iran nor North Korea off the idea of nuclear weapons and has "stimulated terrorism", Hans Blix, the former United Nations chief arms inspector in Iraq, said.
"You wouldn't expect any government to admit that they were wrong," Blix told BBC radio. "I think, like everybody else, that it is good that Saddam (Hussein) is gone. The world is better off without Saddam.
"But the world is not any safer. If this was meant to be a signal to terrorists to stop their activities, it has failed miserably, it has stimulated terrorism.
"And it doesn't stop proliferation. The Iranians and North Koreans, if they are up to that, they are not stopped by it.
"So I don't think that any of the aims, except getting rid of Saddam himself, have succeeded."
Blix poured scorn on British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw for justifying the invasion of Iraq, originally based on the premise that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction, on a now watered-down reason that Saddam had the intention of producing such weaponry.
The chief US weapons hunter, Charles Duelfer, found in his 1,000-page Iraq Survey Group report published last week that Saddam had destroyed most of his chemical and biological weapons after his 1991 Gulf War defeat and that his nuclear program had "progressively decayed".
But he said the Iraqi leader had hoped to renew his weapons quest if sanctions were lifted.
"When you read Duelfer's report now you really wonder how dangerous he was," Blix, a former Swedish foreign minister who led the UN hunt for banned chemical and biological weapons in Iraq before the March 2003 invasion, told the BBC.
"OK, he claimed that there were programs to produce weapons of mass destruction. But he also takes a step back from this and says there were no documented programs.
"What he has got out of interrogation of various people who worked with Saddam was rather that 'well he wanted to, that was probably his intention' etc, but these are straws I think for Jack Straw to cling to."
Blix has previously criticized British Prime Minister Tony Blair's government for "hyping" pre-war intelligence about Iraq and denounced US President George W. Bush's war as boosting terrorism and causing more suffering than Saddam's dictatorial regime had.
Blair admitted in a Labour party speech earlier this month that pre-war claims about Saddam's threat were wrong, but he and his closest ally Bush have staunchly defended taking Iraq to war.
© Copyright AFP