ElBaradei: NPT Tattering Because Big Boys Continue to Rely on Nuclear Weapons

(source: CASMII)
Monday, June 4, 2007

Transcript by Campaign Against Sanctions and Military Intervention in Iran (CASMII)

http://www.campaigniran.org

4 June 2007

On 8 May 2007,  Dr Mohamed ElBaradei, the head of the UN's nuclear watchdog, gave a rare interview to the BBC on the work of the International Atomic Energy Agency. Despite its crucial significance in outlining the reasons why we are not living in a safer world, the interview was broadcast only after nearly one month and its main points have been largely unreported by the BBC itself and other news outlets.

In this interview, the BBC reporter Rob Broomby speaks to Dr. ElBaradei regarding Iran's nuclear programme and the state of the Nuclear Non-Proliferations Treaty. The head of the IAEA blames the nuclear weapons states for not living up to their disarmament commitments under the NPT while they expect the non-nuclear weapon states to agree to additional intrusive inspections. He further explains the direct link between non-proliferation and a sense of security and how Washington's "new crazies" have contributed to the weakening of the NPT by their double standards and advocacy of military intervention.

Inside the IAEA: A year with the nuclear detectives will be broadcast on BBC Radio 4 again at 2000 BST on 7 June 2007.

Rob Broomby: At the end of for us at least, a fairly exciting and traumatic year in terms of the life of the agency, how do you assess what's happening particularly with the focus on the Iran story the Iran crisis. Are we any nearer a resolution to that do you think?

Mohamed ElBaradei: It depends, I think we could be very near a solution, for two reasons: That people, I think, with the passage of time are coming to realize that the only way to resolve the issue is to try to sit around a negotiating table and find a solution. It is becoming more and more clear that the so-called nuclear issue is very much part and parcel of the whole regional security issue and...

Rob Broomby: It is not happening yet, is it?

Mohamed ElBaradei: It is not happening, but I think, I see more and more awareness that you are not going to resolve it simply by adopting more sanctions or more pressure, that this is useful as a signal to Iran that the international community is unhappy with certain of your activities, but in conjunction with that you really have to reach out to them and how that process will go, I think will determine when we will have a solution. I don't think it's a question of whether we'll have a solution, I think it's a question of when we will have a solution.

Rob Broomby: Do you believe though that they want a nuclear weapon? It's unclear to me yet whether this agency thinks they want a nuclear weapon or not.

Mohamed ElBaradei: We are, again, neutral on this issue. We said before that the jury is still out on this issue. We have seen certain...

Rob Broomby: But you run the inspectors, isn't it your job to know whether they want a weapon or not?

Mohamed ElBaradei: That is what we are trying to do. There are still outstanding issues and I will not come to a hasty conclusion on this issue or on any other issue. These are issues that are directly related to matters of war and peace and we have to as sitting in judgment, we really have to make sure that we will not make a verdict before we are absolutely [sure], we have examined all the evidence and the Iranians are not yet forthcoming with some of the evidence, and we are saying that we haven't seen concrete evidence that this is a weapon program, but on the other hand, we still have questions [that] need to be answered before we can say this is exclusively a program for peaceful purposes.

Rob Broomby: But they don't behave like a nation with nothing to hide, do they, I mean the way they are handling your inspectors, the way they are handling the international community is one as if this is a country with something to hide.

Mohamed ElBaradei: Well, again, a lot of people have their own perspective. They cooperate with us in implementing the safe guard agreement. Obviously we would like them to cooperate in a much more broader sense. Because they have, as I have said repeatedly, they have been hiding activities for many many years and for us to reconstruct the history of that program requires that they come with an attitude of full cooperation and full transparency which we haven't seen that yet. They are linking some of this cooperation to the negotiations with the Europeans, with the Americans. I told them you still owe us a confession in terms of the history of the program, what sort of experiment took place in the past, what sort of equipment that you procured, unless you do that and you come clean we are not able to say this is a peaceful program and if we are not able to say it's a peaceful program, you will continue to have concerns by the international community, you will continue to probably have the Security Council adopting sanctions. So it is in Iran's interest to come with a reverse policy if you like, and cooperate in a much more broader sense with the IAEA.

Rob Broomby: One of your member states, the United States, is absolutely adamant, ambassador Schulte he said it the first time you meet him and I don't think they've changed their view that this is a weapons program.

Mohamed ElBaradei: Well, I think if you see the rhetoric or the statements coming from Washington and other places over the last couple of years you will see quite a nuanced downscale attitude. I think two or three years ago Mr. Bolton was saying this is absolutely a weapons program, at that time I made it clear that we don't have any concrete evidence in that direction.

Rob Broomby: But why would they have a clandestine program if it wasn't for weapons?

Mohamed ElBaradei: I think if you read now carefully what is being said, including in the UK, including in the US, they are saying that the Iranians have the ambition to develop a nuclear weapon capability, the ambition or the intention. There is not...

Rob Broomby: Perhaps worrying?

Mohamed ElBaradei: Well if you have the intention, it's very different to read intentions and we don't read intention, we look at facts. The fact that why they went into many years in hiding, the Iranian argument, I am not saying this is right or wrong, the Iranian argument has been that we were under sanctions for 20 years, we could not have gotten the enrichment equipment or the knowledge above board, so we had to go underground. So there are...

Rob Broomby: Am I reading you correctly, you are saying you believe that they did have the ambition to have a nuclear weapon?

Mohamed ElBaradei: No, I am saying that they have the ambition to develop an enrichment capability, there is no question about that, we have been saying that they need, they want to acquire the know-how, the knowledge, the capability of enriching uranium, there is no question about that. But having an enrichment capability and developing a weapon are two different things. There are certain countries that have enrichment capabilities, some non-nuclear weapons states, you have Japan, you have Brazil, you have Germany, it does not mean automatically that you have that, that you will immediately jump to acquiring nuclear weapons.

Rob Broomby: But you feel it is their ambition to do that?

Mohamed ElBaradei: Enrichment, there is no question, I think they are on record that they...

Rob Broomby: I'm talking about a weapon... do you think...

Mohamed ElBaradei: No, as I said, I am not completely in a position at this stage, to say that they are, developing now a parallel program for weapon. Whether they had an intention in the past when that program started in the mid-80s, whether that ambition is still there, but when I talk about nuclear weapon program I have to see underground, undeclared nuclear facilities, I have to see weapon usable material, and we have not seen any of that. See, whether in their hearts of hearts they are saying we would like to do that, I cannot read hearts, I can't read intentions. I read facts on the ground and I would love, I think we should all learn, very carefully, from the Iraqi experience, we need not to hype issues, we need to work in a very systematic, in a very matter of fact way. Definitely whether they have the intention or they do not have the intention, one thing is clear, they are not today a clear and present danger and that is not only my view, that is the view of the MI6, that is the view of the CIA. That even if they have the intention to develop nuclear weapons, they are still 5 to 10 years away from such undertaking and that to me means that we need to invest our time in developing a comprehensive, peaceful resolution of the issue, that understands, puts the nuclear issue in a proper context that is part and parcel of the global or regional insecurity in the Middle East.

Rob Broomby: But they have been thumbing their nose at the international community, regardless of how we've got here they have now ignored a whole series of sanctions and resolutions passed against them, um...that's a problem, isn't it? For a country to challenge your authority as an agency and the Security Council as well?

Mohamed ElBaradei: They are challenging the authority of the Security Council, and which is obviously not a good thing, but they are saying this is our right, the Security Council is exceeding its authority, you know, this is something, obviously it is not good, but this raises a whole set of issues, how the Security Council should deal with Non-Proliferation issue...

Rob Broomby: What will you be telling them, because you've got to tell them shortly whether enrichment is continuing?

Mohamed ElBaradei: Well, I think obviously if nothing unexpected happens in the next couple of weeks, I am going to report the fact, that they are, continuing their enrichment program. I don't think the Iranian are making any secret about that. It is a problem that we are on a confrontation path. The Security Council is saying one thing and the Iranian are saying another and as I said, we need to diffuse that confrontation, train wreck path, because I don't think confrontation alone, as I said, would resolve this issue. There is no military solution to this issue. Use of force would be catastrophic as I have said a number of times. We need to understand where the Iranians are coming from, the Iranian need to understand the concerns of the international community, and we need to reconcile the differences and find a way. The key issue right now, which is really blocking the negotiation, is this issue of suspension. It has become in many ways a question of face on both sides and we need to provide a solution that as I said, makes sure nobody loses face. I don't think nobody wants Iran to lose face, or obviously the international community does not want to compromise on its position...

Rob Broomby: Can I come to the diplomatic manoeuvre in a minute, but I just would like to ask you about stakes which play on the ground at the moment. There have been reports that we are, or they are, almost at 3000 centrifuges, is that where we think we are?

Mohamed ElBaradei: They are not, they could be probably in a few month, or a couple of months at 3,000, but again 3,000 is not a magic number. I mean, it depends when people talk about industrial scale...that is part of the problem, explaining how this...

Rob Broomby: 3000 in June, could be 10,000 by the end of the year...

Mohamed ElBaradei: Well, it could be a few more thousand by the end of the year. However, when you talk about industrial scale, and if you need enough centrifuges, for example, to fuel one power reactor, we need 54,000. So 3000, if you are talking about peaceful enrichment they are very very far from an industrial capacity, if you are...

Rob Broomby: You are aware that Ambassador Schulte of the US gave a speech last week were he was saying that it would take one year with 3,000 centrifuges to reach enough uranium for a nuclear bomb.

Mohamed ElBaradei: Yes, but that would also require that they walk all the way out of the NPT, because as long as they are under IAEA verification they will not be able to go from the 5 percent enrichment to the 90 percent enrichment. So you have to assume...that is what I have been saying for a while, when you talk about Iran today, you are talking about a future risk assessment. That the scenario is Iran will have 3,000, Iran will walk out of the NPT, and then they will develop nuclear weapons, and then they will pursue an aggressive policy in the Middle East...

Rob Broomby: But that is a real fear, isn't it, they could be keeping you talking and then there could be a break out when they are almost there.

Mohamed ElBaradei: Well, if there is a break out, as I said it takes a year, and the break out scenario could happen with Iran, could happen with any other country, it happened with North Korea and of course we do not want that to happen again but as I said I always look at the big picture. You need to work to make sure Iran will not break out, you need to work and make sure that Iran and other countries will not try to be driven into developing nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction and the key frankly is make sure that every country feels secure enough, make sure that every country does not have the incentive to develop nuclear weapons. That is much more complicated, that is creative diplomacy.

Rob Broomby: Do you think the sanctions are working because you were always a bit of a critic of going this way you, felt that sanctions alone would not work, but are they working, are they bringing a resolution?

Mohamed ElBaradei: Well, again, you have different assessments. I think sanctions may be working in terms of reorganizing the deck if you like in the domestic politics, but I haven't seen change on the national consensus in Iran...

Rob Broomby: There are those who think we are no further forward, in fact a good deal further back than three years ago.

Mohamed ElBaradei: Well, the consensus in Iran and we have to understand that, is that they need to acquire the enrichment because at the very least this is the route to power, prestige and influence and unfortunately they are not wrong. All the countries that have enrichment capabilities are major countries with quite an influence in the world. We need to break that cycle, the connection between enrichment or fuel cycle and deterrence. You see a lot of countries now are thinking well if I have enrichment capability maybe it is good economically, but definitely it is also good to show my neighbour that I have the know how to develop a nuclear weapon say within a year time.

Rob Broomby: But that would be worrying, wouldn't it? That would not be a civil programme. That would be a worrying factor if that was Iran's strategy.

Mohamed ElBaradei: It is worrying factor for Iran, it is a worrying factor for every other country. The issue having the capability as they do have the right under the Non-Proliferation Treaty, to enrich uranium or reprocess plutonium. The fact that every country has the right to sit on an enrichment factory means that the security margin we have is very thin because security perception could change over night and if you look at East Asia, if you look at North Korea, the fact that North Korea developed its nuclear weapon had a lot of implication, and could still have a lot of implications on its neighbouring countries. A few months ago Japan said we are going to have a discussion on whether we can have nuclear weapons or not. The issue that was raised by Iran goes much beyond Iran which means we need to make sure that all fuel cycle activities should be under multi-national control and that is why I have been, and many others, working toward establishing a multi-national control over fuel cycle that makes sure even if a country's perception of security has changed, they are not, they do not have at their disposal the nuclear material that they could develop into a nuclear weapon. So the issue of Iran is a serious issue, but the issue of Iran raises a lot much more fundamental questions about the efficacy of the Non-Proliferation and arms control regime. And we are here to deal with both. I deal with its officials, the Iranian issue, but I deal also with the public servants, with the global picture and I am saying there is a lot we need to do more.

Rob Broomby: At the moment also the big task for you and others dealing with this is to get the sides to engage, and there is this complicated dance going on trying to work out how on earth you can get the two sides to talk to each other. One suggestion you put forth sometime back, was to have a kind of cooling off period where sanctions are dropped and enrichment is stopped, time-out as you called it. A lot of people said, that is Dr. ElBaradei doing what he always does straying beyond his brief, he is equating the crime with the punishment. That is out of line.

Mohamed ElBaradei: Yeah, I don't think I have any brief. I have a brief as an international civil servant, as a person who is responsible for managing as Tony Blair mentioned recently and others, as a custodian of the Non-Proliferation regime. I don't want that regime to break down.

Rob Broomby: Those sanctions were put in place because the rules were broken, and you are asking both sides to simultaneously stop.

Mohamed ElBaradei: In fact this is part of the Security Council resolution in itself, so I am not bringing something new. The Security Council resolution itself which imposes sanctions says if Iran were to suspends we are ready to suspend. The resolution itself has this built-in suspension for suspension clause. All that I am trying to do, is develop with the other parties the minuet, how we put that in place. I frankly, saying that taking the high moral ground, who is right who is wrong, who is the criminal, who is the cop, that is fine if you are writing an academic dissertation, but what I am worried about right now is to avoid a confrontation or a war, we still...

Rob Broomby: Is that a real fear still for you?

Mohamed ElBaradei: It is highly unlikely, and I hope it is highly unlikely, but I do not want to see that happen. I thought Iraq was highly unlikely and we still have 700,000 people who have died. When I wake up every morning and I see a hundred Iraqis, innocent civilians are dying I really, don't have any sympathy, to say the least, for anybody saying that I am working under my brief. I have no brief other than to make sure we do not go into another war, or that we go crazy into killing each other.

Rob Broomby: But when you meet for instance people from Washington or the other Western powers behind the scenes, and they say look what's at stake here is very important indeed, do you get the impression that that's still on the agenda?

Mohamed ElBaradei: The what?

Rob Broomby: Bombing.

Mohamed ElBaradei: I don't think so, I mean at least all what I hear from all people at the highest level is that everybody is still committed to a peaceful resolution. But can I guarantee that? I can't and that's why I'm saying I want to avoid a confrontation to a point where you don't really have many other options. You see, you do not want to give additional argument to some of the "new crazies" who want to say let us go and bomb Iran.

Rob Broomby: Who are the "new crazies"? Who are we talking about here?

Mohamed ElBaradei: Well, I'm talking about all the extreme people who have extreme views that the only solution is to impose your will by force; which we have come...

Rob Broomby: Are you talking about the members of the US regime? Because the US government used to say that sort of thing not too long ago.

Mohamed ElBaradei: Well, I disagree now, I disagreed with them before and unfortunately again we have to go through the painful experience of Iraq to show the limits of power. That the world has become too complex, too complicated that you cannot impose your will simply by use of force. You really need to understand where people are coming from; you need to understand the root causes and you need to adopt a pragmatic approach. You need to split the difference; you need to reconcile your differences.

Rob Broomby: Yes I just want to ask you one more time whether you are calling George Bush or ambassador Schulte or any of the US people who've talked about being firm here "a crazy"?

Mohamed ElBaradei: No No, Absolutely not. I'm not talking about any of these people. People could be firm, I am firm, you know, when I deal with Iran or any other country I am as firm as I can, because they also have to understand that they need to comprise their legal obligation and they need to show transparency and they need to assess the international resolve. It's not a question of firmness; it's a question of approach. It's a question of how you go about things. You can be firm and pragmatic and that's what I think I am. I am firm and I am trying to use all the tools in my toolkit and even more. But I also have to understand what is possible and what is not possible.

Rob Broomby: Is there something here that with your Egyptian roots you understand the mindset of the region perhaps better than others? Is that something you feel when you meet the kind of people who see it in a kind of black and white way in Washington?

Mohamed ElBaradei: I don't think so. Frankly I've spent more of my life in the West than in Egypt. But I think the more you go around, the more you understand that if I deal with a country in Latin America or in Africa or in the Middle East, all people's reaction is the same. People need to feel secure. People need to maintain their pride. People do not want to lose face. People want to feel that they've been treated fairly.

Rob Broomby: Do have the idea that what the Iranians want is a grand bargain, that the whole series of things on the table may not appear when we focus on the nuclear issue ...

Mohamed ElBaradei: There's no question about that. I think the Iranians have been saying that for years that they want a comprehensive grand bargain that takes account ... the nuclear issue is the tip of the iceberg. They need to see trade normalisation. They want to see diplomatic relations re-established. They want to be recognised as a regional power. Fundamentally it's a question of competition for power in the Middle East and Iran is not the only player. There are a lot of Arab countries, the US, the Europeans, and that's why the issues are much more complicated than just saying do as I tell you. And both sides have a lot of assets which can be used quite negatively or positively. Iran could be a very stabilising power in Iraq, in Lebanon, in the Palestinian issue and also could help stabilise the region. So you see what is really frustrating is that I know both sides need each other to build a stable Middle East at peace with itself and yet we're completely stuck and not able to move through with negotiations. It is not just me, I don't have that issue part of my jurisdiction but a lot of people are trying to find a way how to get the two sides to the negotiating table through whatever kabuki dance you can develop without loosing face.

Rob Broomby: Can I just move on quickly then and that's to the state of the NPT, the state of the non-proliferation regime in general. When I asked you in our first meeting it was looking pretty ragged down. Looking forward to the year ahead now it's not getting any better is it? It's looking pretty rough now.

Mohamed ElBaradei: It is not getting any better in the least. It is [...]. The regime is tattering in many ways. Today when we are talking here, for the last ten days the parties to the NPT can't even agree on an agenda as what to discuss. That's how dismal the state of affairs are. The reasons are very obvious. The reason that we still live in a world that relies on nuclear weapons, any country that feels insecure whether it's Iran, whether it's North Korea or any other country is tempted to develop possibly nuclear weapon because they see the ‘big boys' continue to rely on nuclear weapons. When you see the decision in the UK recently to modernise the Trident, I mean I came publicly right away saying this is absolutely the wrong message. Because you cannot tell everybody nuclear weapons are not good for you but turn around and say well the world is uncertain, the danger we cannot foresee and therefore we have to modernise our nuclear arsenal; well into the 21st century, despite a clear commitment to move to nuclear disarmament at an early day and that was the 1970s.

Rob Broomby: You think they aren't bound to that?

Mohamed ElBaradei: Well I think we need to see concrete actions to move towards nuclear disarmament. I understand that the UK has been one of those who reduced the most among the weapons States; but all the weapons states without exception are modernising their weapons and talking about even a dispute would mean nukes that could be usable. You are really sending a message to the rest of the world that if you want to protect yourself, develop your own weapon; if you do not want to develop your own weapon, at least develop this enrichment capability. So you still live in a world that fundamentally relies on nuclear weapons and therefore there is a lot of cynicism among the non-nuclear weapon states: why should we accept more additional obligations in terms of verification, in terms of controlling the fuel cycle, while the major countries are continuing to have a freehand to use whatever nuclear weapon at their arsenal?

Rob Broomby: Do you think then that renewing Trident or going to a new generation of bombs as some in Washington want to do is in line with the NPT? Is it possible for those states to do it?

Mohamed ElBaradei: Again if you read the NPT there is a commitment in 1970 saying that there is a commitment by all these countries to move toward nuclear disarmament at an early day; and you ask yourself the question: if you are renewing your arsenal well into the 21st century, that's a hundred years after that commitment, can you reconcile a hundred years with an early date? Is that a fair interpretation of a commitment to disarm at an early date?

Rob Broomby: You are choosing your words very carefully. I think you are trying to say they shouldn't do it. Is that what you say?

Mohamed ElBaradei: I am basically saying it sends the wrong message. There's no question about it. It sends the wrong message to the international community. If the weapon states are really ready to drastically reduce their nuclear weapons arsenal, the twenty seven thousand warheads they have, you will have much more stronger moral authority to go after the cheater of the world, the people who want to develop nuclear weapons. But as long as you are telling them: Do as I say and not as I do, you continue to have this cynicism and you continue to have a feeling among the many of the non-nuclear weapon states why should we accept to tie our hands even further and why can't we keep the option of developing these weapons in case our security is threatened? We still live in a world that says the security of some people is more important than others. We have to live under a nuclear umbrella while the rest can enjoy the elements, which is not sustainable.

Rob Broomby: Can I ask you briefly about career because I know your time is precious. A few weeks ago in fact when I was in this building there was a lot of high hopes about North Korea coming in from the cold, you and your senior inspector Ollie Heinonen were heading off there to lay the ground work. It's all gone into the sand hasn't it? It's not moving forward.

Mohamed ElBaradei: I'm not sure. I think for a change at least I'm slightly optimistic about North Korea. North Korea now hinges on settlement of this Banko-Asia delta order.

Rob Broomby: Some of their frozen assets?

Mohamed ElBaradei: Some of the frozen assets. I do understand because it's quite complicated because of legal procedures in the US and other places and in China. I still hope and everybody is working very hard to make sure that these assets will be released. In fact the assets have been released, but North Korea wants to make sure that it will be able to use it freely and no bank will be able again to impound the money. Once that issue is over, the North Koreans at least continue to assure us that they are ready to start implementing their commitment and that we will go soon to freeze or shut down the reprocessing plant. This would be obviously the first step of a long and complicated process, but I see some light at least coming out of the tunnel that has been quite dark for the last six years. So I am hopeful on North Korea and still hopeful on Iran I should say that. With all the rhetoric you hear, there's a lot of understanding I think on both sides that neither can afford to go for confrontation forever. Neither can take the risk of going into a situation when you create the condition for saying we have no other option but the use of force because everybody on both sides understand the use of force is a catastrophe in a region which is more messy than any other part of the world right now which is the Middle East.

Rob Broomby: Are we more in danger from nuclear annihilation or at least a nuclear explosion of some sort than we were in the depths of the Cold War?

Mohamed ElBaradei: The bulletin of atomic scientists last month, they have this famous dooms day clock and they moved the hand of the clock to two minutes to midnight which is as close to midnight as ever since 1945. In their judgement that we are in a much more dangerous situation than anytime since the Cold War and I understand that.

Rob Broomby: Do you share that time description?

Mohamed ElBaradei: I share their view that we are in a much more dangerous and complex situation because of all the new phenomenon that we have seen in the last few years ranging from the illicit trafficking on nuclear material, something which has not been there, ranging from the sophisticated rings of terrorists who showed keen interest to acquire nuclear weapons, ranging from the management of a number of countries to go for undeclared nuclear programmes. So the technology is out of the tube, the sense of insecurity is more pervasive than any other time before. The rules of the game are not really clear. During the Cold War there clear rules for the game. These rules have been substituted by I'd say by pervasive chaos. If you put all this together, yes I think we are in a much more dangerous situation. Not necessarily the US versus Russia. But still the feeling of us versus them, whether that's north versus south or poor versus rich or what have you. We are in a world that is not at peace with itself, a world where it is much easier to acquire the nuclear technology, a world where militancy is taking hold; so I am concerned in many ways than even ten years ago.

Rob Broomby: When I started this project, you were coming in from an awful lot of flap from Washington. John Bolton was making it very clear he was not happy with your leadership; Donald Rumsfeld was still on the scene; they've both departed now and you are still in office. Do you feel vindicated?

Mohamed ElBaradei: I feel I still have more responsibility than they do. When you are in that job, you don't have the time even to think whether I am vindicated or not. I think what you really want to focus on is that you want to do a good job; and doing a good job means that when I leave here I want to make sure that we have a security system that does not keep us living every day under the Damocles' sword. That we wake up in the morning and see half of our civilisation destroyed because of a computer error. That's why I said I don't pay attention to anybody who's saying you're talking outside the box; I don't read much of that. The criticism I hear or see in many of the blogs saying I'm soft on Iran, I am supporting this or that or the other, I look myself in the mirror every morning and I ask myself the question: Is there anything more that I can do to make our world safer? And that's my criteria until I finish my mandate here.

Rob Broomby: Is it safer?

Mohamed ElBaradei: It could be safer if we do a lot of things which we are not yet doing. I think we need leadership; we need major countries to lead by example.

Rob Broomby: Can I just ask you after obviously twelve months of following all your inspectors and all your professionals here very closely, you've come on in for a lot of flap, do you think at the end of this the agency is stronger or in fact do you think they may even have been weakened by the rows taking place and the move to sanctions in New York and the rest of it?

Mohamed ElBaradei: Well I think fortunately from a narrow perspective that we've come out with a lot of more credibility. I think particularly Iraq has helped a lot to establish our credibility that we were right at the end of the day. I think people are listening to us much more carefully now with regard to Iran. We stuck to our guns few years ago and we said there was no nuclear weapon programme, you have seen a shift in the rhetoric in the US and the UK about that the Iranian programme and I am happy to hear them. But that puts also much more responsibility on our shoulders. We cannot afford to make a mistake and therefore you need to use all the tools in your kit to make sure that your judgement at the end, the timing of the judgement, the basis of the judgement, the way you express the judgement is crucial because it could have implications for war and peace. A lot of people ask me how do you sleep at night! You have to manage the tension and you have to live with the tension. But at the end of the day when you feel that you are able to inch the world forward somewhat into a more humane or safer world it's a great feeling of exhilaration. I don't do that alone. I have over two thousand people who are working with me day and night. I'm sure you met a lot of them. They're all absolutely committed to their task. We're all very excited because we serve the global community. We do not look... you asked me the question do I look from an Egyptian perspective or European, I don't. The more you are into this kind of job, the more you come to realise that forget culture, forget ethnicity, forget language, forget colour, we all share the same hope, the same aspiration and I would like to do as much that at the end of the day before I leave here I have put this so called human family somewhat on the right track.

© June 2007 CASMII - http://www.campaigniran.org

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