TEHRAN, YJC. -- Former prime minister John Howard says he has no regrets about the war in Iraq or Australia's involvement in it.
Mr Howard says he knew war was likely 10 months out from when Australia and the coalition of the willing invaded Iraq, but he maintains he did not commit troops until much later.
"I make no secret now nor did I make any secret of the fact 10 years ago that we had people involved and knowledgeable about the planning stages of any operation that might materialise," he told the ABC.
But he says his full cabinet was not brought into the loop until the decision was made to commit troops.
"The national security committee of cabinet met continuously throughout 2002, although in the end, when we decided to commit our troops I did have a full cabinet meeting," he said.
In an extensive interview with the ABC this week, Mr Howard reflected on the lead-up to the war, the politics surrounding it and the consequences of a conflict that many still believe was based on intelligence that was manipulated and misused in an effort to make it look like Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction.
Ten years on, Mr Howard stands by his decision to send Australia to war.
"It was a time when there was a genuine concern that Saddam had WMDs," he said.
"The fact that they were not found did not alter the fact that the Iraq survey group found that Saddam's intention all along was to reconstitute his programs once he'd secured an end to the UN sanctions."
It is easy to forget just how feverish the international atmospherics were at the time.
September 11 had changed the geopolitical landscape, and while the world largely supported the US pursuit of Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, there were very different feelings abroad about US intentions towards Iraq.