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IAEA Chief: Iran Nuke Program Not Peaceful


Asked whether the IAEA had indications of a completely separate Iranian nuclear weapons program, he said: "No, we don't. But I won't exclude that possibility."

Washington (AFP) Jan 15, 2006
UN nuclear watchdog chief Mohamed ElBaradei said in an interview released Sunday that he is so far unable to confirm whether Iran's controversial nuclear program is peaceful.

In an interview with Newsweek magazine, ElBaradei, who along with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) won last year's Nobel Peace Prize, said Iran would only be a "few months" from building a nuclear bomb if it has nuclear material at the same time as a weaponization program.

"For the last three years we have been doing intensive verification in Iran, and even after three years I am not yet in a position to make a judgment on the peaceful nature of the (nuclear) program," he was quoted as saying in the US weekly.

"We still need to assure ourselves through access to documents, individuals (and) locations that we have seen all that we ought to see and that there is nothing fishy, if you like, about the program," ElBaradei said.

Asked whether the IAEA had indications of a completely separate Iranian nuclear weapons program, he said: "No, we don't. But I won't exclude that possibility."

"If they have the nuclear material and they have a parallel weaponization program along the way, they are really not very far -- a few months -- from a weapon," he warned.

Last week, Tehran removed IAEA seals from uranium-enrichment related equipment at its controversial Natanz plant.

The European Union and the United States have since pushed for Iran to be referred to the UN Security Council over what they fear is a covert weapons drive, leaving Tehran exposed to the threat of eventual sanctions. Iran insists its nuclear program is to generate electricity only.

"I'll tell you, nobody wants to go to the Security Council -- if they can avoid that," ElBaradei was quoted as saying in Newsweek.

"(But) even if it goes to the Security Council, it will be a graduated approach. If (the Iranians) decide to go the confrontation route, everybody will be hurt, there is no question about it.

"But at the end of the day, in my view, they will hurt more because there is a more united international community."

Source: Agence France-Presse

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Iran Says Not Scared Of Security Council, Warns On Oil Prices

Tehran (AFP) Jan 15, 2006
Iran said Sunday it was "not scared" of being hauled before the UN Security Council and warned any sanctions over its disputed nuclear programme could cause an unexpected hike in oil prices.







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