Sunday, January 15, 2006

ElBaradei: Diplomacy and Force


Exclusive Interview: The United Nations' top inspector is prepared to issue a report on Iran's nuclear program that will 'reverberate around the world.'

Jan. 23, 2006 issue - The man in the middle of the escalating tensions between Iran, Europe and the United States is Mohamed ElBaradei, director-general of the United Nations' International Atomic Energy Agency. ElBaradei and the IAEA, recipients of last year's Nobel Peace Prize, are charged with verifying Iran's compliance—or lack thereof—with international safeguards against nuclear-weapons proliferation. In his first interview since Iran broke the seals on nuclear research equipment last week, ElBaradei spoke bluntly at his Vienna headquarters with NEWSWEEK's Christopher Dickey about his frustrations with Tehran, and his ideas on how to avoid further escalation. ...

...Newsweek: What if the Iranians are just buying time for their bomb building?
ElBaradei: That's why I said we are coming to the litmus test in the next few weeks. Diplomacy is not just talking. Diplomacy has to be backed by pressure and, in extreme cases, by force. We have rules. We have to do everything possible to uphold the rules through conviction. If not, then you impose them. Of course, this has to be the last resort, but sometimes you have to do it.

You're angry.
No, I'm not angry, but I'd like to make sure the process will not be abused. There's a difference. I still would like to be able to avoid escalation, but at the same time I do not want the agency to be cheated; I do not want the process to be abused. I think that is clear. I have a responsibility, and I would like to fulfill it with as good a conscience as I can...
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