The Iraqi ambassador has asked for political asylum in Spain, the Foreign Ministry said Wednesday, and a newspaper said the action could be part of a wider move by Iraqi diplomats to isolate Saddam Hussein.

Over the weekend, Arshad Tawfiq Ismail turned over weapons to police and burned documents in the garden of his Madrid Embassy before requesting asylum and going into hiding under police protection, the daily ABC reported Tuesday.A Foreign Ministry spokesman confirmed the request but said the process of determining whether it would be granted would be "relatively long."