Iran nuclear “threat” hyped: IAEA’s ElBaradei

Iran nuclear “threat” hyped: IAEA’s ElBaradei

http://www.reuters.com/article/topNews/idUSTRE5811V120090902?feedType=nl&feedName=ustopnewsearly

Wed Sep 2, 2009 12:00pm EDT

VIENNA (Reuters) – Iran is not going to produce a nuclear weapon any time soon and the threat posed by its atomic program has been exaggerated, the U.N. nuclear watchdog chief said in a published interview.

The West suspects Iran wants to develop a nuclear weapons capability under the guise of a declared civilian atomic energy program. Tehran rejects the charge, saying its uranium enrichment program is a peaceful way to generate electricity.

Mohamed ElBaradei, director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said there was no concrete evidence that Tehran has an ongoing nuclear weapons program.

“But somehow, many people are talking about how Iran’s nuclear program is the greatest threat to the world. In many ways, I think the threat has been hyped,” he told the specialist Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

ElBaradei said there was concern about Iran’s future nuclear intentions and that the Islamic Republic needs to be more transparent with the Vienna-based U.N. nuclear watchdog.

“But the idea that we’ll wake up tomorrow and Iran will have a nuclear weapon is an idea that isn’t supported by the facts as we have seen them so far,” said ElBaradei, 67, who will step down in November after 12 years in office.

The interview was conducted in July but released late on Tuesday.

Last week, an IAEA report lent some weight to Western intelligence reports that Iran had studied ways to make atom bombs although the agency has repeatedly said it does not have concrete proof of a weapons agenda.

Iran has refused to provide documentation, access to sites or to nuclear officials for interviews which the IAEA has requested to reach conclusions about the intelligence materials.

In the interview, ElBaradei said there was an urgent need to follow up on U.S. President Barack Obama’s proposal for a dialogue between Washington and Tehran, but that resorting to harsher sanctions against Iran if it does not engage would achieve little.

ElBaradei said he had gleaned from experiences dealing with North Korea and Iraq that dialogue was a more effective tool than sanctions. He was not talking about a specific country.

“Another lesson is to use sanctions only as a last resort and to avoid sanctions that hurt innocent civilians. As we saw in Iraq, sanctions only denied vulnerable, innocent civilians food and medicine,” he said.

Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator was quoted as saying on Tuesday that Tehran has prepared an “updated nuclear proposal” and is ready to talk to world powers. The West has said it is still waiting for details.

Germany is to host high-level talks on Iran’s nuclear program on Wednesday with the United States, China, France, Britain and Russia. Western powers are expected to push China and Russia to back a fourth round of U.N. sanctions which could target Iran’s vital energy sector.

(Reporting by Sylvia Westall; Editing by Mark Heinrich and Jon Hemming)

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Iranian Nuclear Threat Targets U.S., Israel (see comments section at the bottom of following URL)

http://america-hijacked.com/2009/08/31/iranian-nuclear-threat-targets-u-s-israel/

9 Responses to “Iran nuclear “threat” hyped: IAEA’s ElBaradei”

  • Patriot says:

    AP NewsBreak: Iran says US nuke documents ‘forged’
    By WILLIAM J. KOLE, Associated Press Writer William J. Kole, Associated Press Writer
    37 mins ago

    VIENNA – Iran accused the U.S. on Friday of using “forged documents” and relying on subterfuge to make its case that Tehran is trying to build a nuclear weapon, according to a confidential letter obtained by The Associated Press.

    The eight-page letter — written by Iran’s chief envoy to the U.N. nuclear agency in Vienna — denounces Washington’s allegations against the Islamic Republic as “fabricated, baseless and false.” The letter does not specify what documents Iran is alleging were forged.

    It also lashes out at Britain and France for “ill will and political motivation” in their dealings on Iran.

    Iranian envoy Ali Asghar Soltanieh sent the letter to Mohamed ElBaradei, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, whose 35-nation board will take a hard new look at Iran’s nuclear program next week.

    Iran insists its nuclear activities are peaceful and geared solely toward generating electricity. The U.S. and key allies contend the Islamic Republic is covertly trying to build an atomic bomb.

    Tehran has bristled at the agency’s latest report, which accuses Iran of defiantly continuing to enrich uranium and refusing to clear up lingering questions about possible military dimensions to its nuclear program.

    In the letter, a copy of which was obtained by the AP, Soltanieh insists that Iran has demonstrated “the full commitment of my country to its obligations” under an IAEA nuclear safeguards agreement.

    But it takes sharp aim at Washington for giving the U.N. nuclear watchdog unspecified intelligence and other evidence allegedly recovered from a laptop computer that reportedly was smuggled out of Iran.

    U.S. intelligence later assessed the information as indicating that Tehran had been working on details of nuclear weapons, including missile trajectories and ideal altitudes for exploding warheads.

    The material on the laptop also included videos of what intelligence officials believe were secret nuclear laboratories in Iran.

    “By interfering in the work of the IAEA and exerting various political pressures, the government of the United States attempted to spoil the cooperative spirit between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the IAEA,” the letter reads.

    “The government of the United States has not handed over original documents to the agency since it does not in fact have any authenticated document and all it has are forged documents,” Soltanieh said.

    “The agency didn’t deliver any original documents to Iran and none of the documents and materials that were shown to Iran have authenticity and all proved to be fabricated, baseless allegations and false attributions to Iran,” he added.

    “Therefore, this subject must be closed,” Soltanieh wrote.

    State Department spokesman Ian Kelly declined to comment on Iran’s allegations.

    “We are still awaiting a meaningful response to the P5+1 offer from last April, and to our offer of engagement,” Kelly said, referring to the group of world powers trying to craft a diplomatic resolution to the standoff. The group includes the five permanent members of the Security Council — Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States — plus Germany.

    “We have provided a path whereby Iran can become a full and respected member of the international community,” Kelly said. “It is up to Iran to make a decision as to whether it chooses that path.”

    Officials at the French Foreign Ministry would not immediately comment. France has been increasingly vocal in criticizing Iran’s nuclear program under President Nicolas Sarkozy, who recently said Iranians didn’t “deserve” leaders like theirs. Sarkozy has been in the forefront of the push for new, stronger sanctions.

    A spokeswoman for Britain’s Foreign Office denied the allegations in Soltanieh’s letter.

    She said Britain had consistently sought a way to “give diplomacy a chance to succeed.”

    “I would deny any suggestion of ill-will in the strongest possible terms,” she said, speaking anonymously in line with department policy. “We would have no hesitation in saying that absolutely the reverse is true.”

    The IAEA itself has pressed the U.S. and other governments to share more details on Iran-related intelligence. In its latest report on Iran, the U.N. agency noted that “constraints placed by some member states on the availability of information to Iran are making it more difficult for the agency to conduct detailed discussions with Iran.”

    In a brief telephone interview Friday evening, Soltanieh told the AP he hoped the letter would pressure the U.S. to fully divulge the source of any intelligence implicating Iran.

    “We are the victims of negligence, because people still don’t know what this is all about,” he said.

    The nuclear agency’s latest assessment did acknowledge that Iran has been producing nuclear fuel at a slower rate and has allowed U.N. inspectors broader access to its main nuclear complex in the southern city of Natanz and to a reactor in Arak.

    But it cautions that there are “a number of outstanding issues which give rise to concerns and which need to be clarified to exclude the existence of possible military dimensions.”

    The report, to be examined next week, has raised the specter of harsher international sanctions against Iran for not answering lingering questions about its nuclear activities.

    Senior U.N. officials have said Iran has been feeding uranium ore into some of its 8,300 centrifuges at a reduced rate, suggesting that sanctions already in place may be hampering its program.

    As of Aug. 12, only about 4,600 of those centrifuges were actively enriching uranium, compared with about 4,900 in June — the last time the nuclear agency issued a report on Iran’s nuclear activities — officials said. Since then, they said, Iran has installed roughly 1,000 more centrifuges, but it appeared that many were idle.

    Soltanieh’s letter contends the overall assessment on Iran is positive. But he says concerns raised by the U.S. and others have “totally overshadowed and undermined” the steps that Iran has taken to comply with IAEA demands for transparency.

    President Barack Obama has given Iran something of an ultimatum: Stop enriching uranium — which, if done at a high level, can produce fissile material for the core of a nuclear weapon — or face harsher penalties. In exchange for stopping, it could get trade benefits from six countries that have been engaging it in separate talks: the U.S., Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia.

    The U.N. Security Council has imposed sanctions on Iran three times since 2006 for its refusal to freeze uranium enrichment. The sanctions grew from fears that Iran is using the pretext of building a peaceful nuclear energy program to eventually make weapons-grade enriched uranium.

    The country has also been placed on an international watch list to help limit the importation of nuclear materials, which could make it difficult to procure enough uranium oxide to feed its enrichment program.

    ___

    Associated Press Writers Raphael G. Satter in London, Angela Charlton in Paris and Matthew Lee in Washington contributed to this report.

    ___

    On the Net:

    IAEA, http://www.iaea.org

  • Patriot says:

    U.S. says Iran nearing atomic bomb capacity

    http://www.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idUSTRE58821S20090909

    Israel to drum up support for war against Iran?:

    http://america-hijacked.com/2009/09/06/israel-to-drum-up-support-for-war-against-iran/

    Hot Topic: Israel’s Nukes and Iran’s Nukes – The Washington Note

    http://america-hijacked.com/2009/09/07/hot-topic-israels-nukes-and-irans-nukes-the-washington-note/

    Best Congress AIPAC Can Buy (by former CIA field officer Philip Giraldi):

    http://america-hijacked.com/2009/09/02/the-best-congress-aipac-can-buy/

    Obama’s War Signals: Iran in the crosshairs

    http://america-hijacked.com/2009/07/18/obama%e2%80%99s-war-signals-iran-in-the-crosshairs

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