Blair says ‘I’d do it again’

Former British Prime Minister appears before Iraq War Inquiry

London, England (CNN) — Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair said he fully believed his pre-war claim that Iraq was capable of launching chemical and biological weapons within 45 minutes.

“I did believe it, frankly, beyond doubt,” Blair testified Friday before an inquiry into Britain’s involvement in the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.

Blair said Friday that concern over Iraq’s ambitions to develop weapons of mass destruction had been the main factor behind Britain’s decision to back the war.

“This isn’t about a lie or a conspiracy or a deceit or a deception,” Mr. Blair said. “It’s a decision. And the decision I had to take was, given Saddam’s history, given his use of chemical weapons, given the over one million people whose deaths he had caused, given 10 years of breaking U.N. resolutions, could we take the risk of this man reconstituting his weapons program or is that a risk it is responsible to take?”

He went on: “The decision I took — and frankly would take again — was: if there was any possibility that he could develop weapons of mass destruction, we would stop him. It was my view then and that is my view now.”

After six hours of testimony, though, Mr. Blair seemed to have betrayed no new secrets.

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