Sunday, Dec 6th, 2009
Mohammed ElBaradei, the recently retired former head of the UN nuclear watchdog, warns against an alleged plan by the Israeli government to attack Iran’s nuclear sites.
In a recent interview with The Washington Post, ElBaradei said an Israeli military strike against Iran would “absolutely be the worst thing that could happen.”
“There is no military solution. . . . If a country is bombed, you give them every reason — with the support of everybody in the country and outside the country — to go for nuclear weapons, and nobody can even blame them,” said ElBaradei, who bade farewell to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) last week.
He said the world needs to take account the fact that Iran does not represent an imminent threat as it is not accelerating its production of enriched uranium.
Israel has set the end of the year as a deadline for Iran to give in to Western demands, while dropping heavy hints of a possible military strike against the country.
On a different note, ElBaradei said the imposition of a recent IAEA resolution, which demands that Iran stop construction of its Fordo nuclear facility outside Tehran, should not be seen as a sign that diplomacy with Iran finally reached a dead end
“The resolution was an act of frustration, but there was no mention by anyone that this was the end of the fight for a diplomatic solution. The same people who sponsored the resolution continue to talk about the importance of reaching out to Iran,” the 67-year-old Egyptian said.
ElBaradei also rejected the notion that Iran’s nuclear activity could trigger an arms race in the Middle East as previously suggested by the Bush administration, saying that suchlike have made matters only worse with regards to Iran’s nuclear issue.
“For at least three years, the US was against any dialogue with Iran. This was the ideology of the time — “we don’t talk to countries that are ‘axis of evil.’ ” The animosity was described in biblical terms, and rhetoric makes a lot of difference,” he noted
“You cannot describe a country as part of an “axis of evil” and then turn around and expect them to have trust or behave in certain ways,” he asserted.
ElBaradei said if the Bush administration had not missed its chance for rapprochement with Iran and had adopted a more pragmatic and realistic approach, Tehran’s nuclear issue “could have been resolved four to five years ago”.