UN nuclear watchdog chief speaks truth to power


Richard Moore

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UN nuclear watchdog chief warns against 'new crazies' wanting military action 
against Iran

Last updated at 16:07pm on 1st June 2007
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The UN's nuclear watchdog head has warned against the "new crazies" wanting 
military action against Iran.

International Atomic Energy Agency head Mohamed El Baradei told BBC radio today:
"I have no brief other than to make sure we don't go into another war or that we
go crazy into killing each other. You do not want to give additional argument to
new crazies who say 'let's go and bomb Iran'".

Asked who the "new crazies" were, he said: "Those who have extreme views and say
the only solution is to impose your will by force."

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Ali Larijani (right) and Javier Solana earlier this year. The two are meeting 
again in a few weeks to continue negotiations on Iran's nucler programme

He has also suggested the Western policy of withholding enrichment capability 
from Iran is obsolete because Iran already has the technology. He cautioned 
today against military action to halt Iran's nuclear programme and said he did 
not want to see another war like that in Iraq.

Meanwhile Iran has not provided any evidence to suggest it is willing to freeze 
sensitive nuclear work, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said today 
following talks between Tehran and the European Union.

Rice said on arrival in Madrid, where EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana and 
Iranian negotiator Ali Larijani met yesterday, that she had not yet been briefed
on the substance of the meeting.

"But I hope they were constructive," Rice told reporters travelling with her. 
"The only question is: are we getting to a point where the Iranians are prepared
to suspend (sensitive nuclear work) so that negotiations can begin?" "I don't 
see any evidence of it but I frankly haven't had a chance to speak to Javier 
(Solana) since the talks concluded."

Rice said she would speak to Solana today or tomorrow. Her busy schedule in 
Spain included talks with the king, prime minister and foreign minister before 
heading back to Washington.

The EU-Iran talks produced no breakthrough on the core dispute - Iran's refusal 
to suspend uranium enrichment as a condition for negotiations on trade benefits,
despite the spectre of a third round of punitive U.N. sanctions against it.

But Solana said Iran, which has the world's second largest oil and gas reserves,
indicated more willingness to cooperate with inquiries by the United Nations 
watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, into the nature of its 

EU and Iranian officials denied Larijani had made a concrete pledge to resolve 
long outstanding questions which the IAEA has about Iranian nuclear activity in 
a specified time frame.

"Larijani did say they would look at the issues positively with the IAEA and 
implied they would like to resolve them. It was an encouraging statement 
unsolicited by us," a senior EU diplomat familiar with the discussions said.

"But I don't think even with the best will in the world you could describe it as
a real kind of undertaking. They would have to discuss it with the agency 

Iran has said it would clear up questions only if the U.N. Security Council 
restored authority over its file to the IAEA.

Iran says its programme is solely for electricity generation but Western powers 
suspect it wants to build atom bombs.

Uranium enrichment is a process of refining uranium for power plants, or if 
taken to a very high degree, atom bombs.

There have been suggestions the West might settle for a partial enrichment halt 
to nudge Iran into negotiations but Rice has rejected that, saying only full 
compliance would be enough.

"Iran must not use those negotiations as cover to keep U.N. activity at bay," 
she said.

The United States and Israel have mooted military action as a last resort 
against Iran if diplomacy and sanctions fail to curb its nuclear activity.

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