View Full Version : An interview with Mohamed ElBaradei....

Good Doctor HST
02-02-2005, 07:30 PM
The following is from the latest Newsweek; Lally Weymouth caught up with the IAEA head honcho at the World Economic Forum in Davos to discuss the war in Iraq:

Before the war in Iraq, you said Iraq had no nuclear weapons. Is this what the administration has against you?
I don't know. Someone told me it is dangerous to be wrong but even more dangerous to be right.

The Bush administration is arguing that you are not tough enough on Iran.
It depends how you define soft. Eighteen months ago, Iran was a black box. Now we have a fairly good picture of what is happening in Iran. We understand how complex and extensive that program is. Through our tenacity, Iran's facilities that could produce fissile material are frozen. And we are still going everywhere we think we need to go to be sure there are no undeclared activities in Iran. Between our tenacious verification and the diplomatic process, I hope we will be able to get a package solution to the Iranian issue.

U.S. experts say that Iran has cheated and lied and continues to do so.
If they are still cheating, we haven't seen any evidence of that. We report facts. When they cheated, we said so; when they are cooperating, we say so. We have been supervising their suspension of fuel-cycle activities. Recently, we got access to a partial military site.

How can Iran justify its full nuclear-fuel cycle as part of a peaceful program?
They probably can make a technical justification. The argument they also make is that they have been isolated, so they have to be self-sufficient.

What is the timeline for Iran's getting a nuclear weapon?
It depends whether they have been doing weaponization. We haven't seen signs of that. But they have the know-how. If they resume the fuel cycle, they should be able to get the fissile material within a year or two. If they have that, they are a year away from a weapon.

What is the best way to stop Iran from going nuclear?
You need inspections, but you need to also work with them diplomatically. If a country is suspected of going nuclear, you need to understand why are they going nuclear. You need to address their sense of isolation and their need for technology and economic . They have been under sanctions for 20 years.

[b]What role should the U.S. play?
I don't think you will get a permanent solution of the Iranian issue without full U.S. engagement. The U.S. engages with North Korea, so I don't see why they can't engage with Iran.

There is talk of a U.S. strike against the Iranian nuclear program.
Talk about military activities at this stage is very unhelpful. I cannot see how a military solution can resolve the Iran issue.

Does the fact that Israel has a nuclear weapon drive Iran?
Right now, more and more countries are trying to acquire nuclear weapons or nuclear know-how. So [either] there are going to be 20 or 30 countries with nuclear weapons, or we must move to say nuclear weapons are a recipe for disaster and we need a security system that does not rely on them.

You have an idea on how to stop countries from getting complete fuel cycles—the key to a nuclear program?
For every country to have an independent fuel cycle is the wrong way to go. Because any country which has a complete fuel cycle is a latent nuclear-weapons country, in the sense that it is not far from making a nuclear weapon. What I propose is to give countries that need nuclear energy for peaceful purposes both the reactors and the necessary technology, but to have the fuel cycles controlled through international entities to make sure that the spent fuel is removed.

Do you think a terror group actually has a nuclear device?
Remember, after the cold war, there was a period of time when lots of nuclear material was not adequately protected in the former Soviet Union. I hope nothing significant went to a terrorist group.

Has Al Qaeda acquired these weapons?
We know they were interested in acquiring nuclear weapons. In Afghanistan there were documents looking at the possibility of developing or acquiring a nuclear device. It is unlikely, but it is a scenario one cannot exclude.

Didn't you warn the administration about the disappearance of the explosives HMX and RDX in Iraq, and do you know where they are?
No, we don't. They are high explosives that could be used for nuclear detonations—350 tons were missing, the Iraqi government reported to us. I told the U.S. forces in Baghdad.