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. Israeli PM hits back at IAEA chief over Iran

Iran no 'clear and present danger': IAEA chief
Iran would need "between three and eight years" to develop an atomic bomb and constitutes no immediate danger, the head of the UN nuclear watchdog, Mohamed ElBaradei, said in an interview published Monday. "I want to get people away from the idea that Iran represents a clear and present danger and that we're now facing the decision whether to bombard Iran or let them have the bomb. We're not in that situation at all," the director of the International Atomic Energy Agency told the French daily Le Monde. "I can't judge whether Iran intends to develop a nuclear bomb. It would need between three and eight years to do so. All intelligence services are agreed on that," said ElBaradei. The IAEA chief continued: "We still have a lot of time to use diplomatic tools, including sanctions, dialogue, all the 'carrots' and 'sticks' we have at our disposal." Last week, US President George W. Bush evoked the possibility of World War III if the international community were to stand by and let Iran develop a nuclear bomb. "If you're interested in avoiding World War III, it seems like you ought to be interested in preventing them (the Iranians) from having the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon," Bush had said. US Vice President Dick Cheney, in his turn, said on Sunday that the United States would not permit Iran to get nuclear weapons and warned of "serious consequences" if Tehran refused to stop enriching uranium.
by Staff Writers
Paris (AFP) Oct 22, 2007
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Monday took a swipe at UN nuclear watchdog chief Mohamed ElBaradei for saying there was no clear and present danger from Iran's nuclear programme.

ElBaradei, the director of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said in an interview with Le Monde newspaper that Iran would need "between three and eight years" to develop a nuclear bomb and that there were was no immediate threat.

"If ElBaradei thinks that an Iranian bomb in three years time does not bother him, it certainly worries me, even extremely," Olmert told journalists in Paris after meeting with French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

"If it's three years, this is very near and extremely concerning," he said, adding dryly: "It would be better if ElBaradei made an effort to prevent them from obtaining a bomb."

The IAEA director told Le Monde: "I want to get people away from the idea that Iran represents a clear and present danger and that we're now facing the decision whether to bombard Iran or let them have the bomb. We're not in that situation at all."

"I can't judge whether Iran intends to develop a nuclear bomb. It would need between three and eight years to do so. All intelligence services are agreed on that," said ElBaradei.

The IAEA chief continued: "We still have a lot of time to use diplomatic tools, including sanctions, dialogue, all the 'carrots' and 'sticks' we have at our disposal."

Olmert said he and Sarkozy shared "identical" views on the threat posed by Iran and on the need to toughen sanctions to pressure Tehran into fully disclosing its nuclear activities.

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Syria gets UN apology over interpreter's error regarding Israeli strike
United Nations (AFP) Oct 22, 2007
The United Nations has apologized to Syria over an interpreter's error that created the wrong impression that Damascus admitted that an Israeli air strike last month targeted a Syrian nuclear site, a spokesman said Monday.

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