'Israel's nukes most serious threat to Middle East' | world | Hindustan Times
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'Israel's nukes most serious threat to Middle East'

world Updated: Oct 05, 2009 07:49 IST

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International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Mohamed ElBaradei has said Israel's nuclear arsenal is the most serious threat to the region, Mehr news agency reported.

Tel Aviv has not granted IAEA inspectors access to its nuclear facilities for the past 30 years. Israel is the only country in the Middle East that possesses nuclear weapons, ElBaradei said at a joint press conference with Iran's Atomic Energy Organisation director Ali-Akbar Salehi here Sunday.

"Iran's nuclear issue can be resolved through dialogue and diplomacy, and I have never seen such determination to resolve this issue," he told reporters.

He added that IAEA inspectors will visit Iran's new nuclear fuel enrichment facility October 25.

"It is important for us to send our inspectors to do a comprehensive verification of that facility, to assure ourselves that it is a facility that is built for peaceful purposes," he said.

ElBaradei called on Tehran to observe the terms of the additional protocol to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to address the world's concerns.

Western nations have accused Iran of developing nuclear weapons in the pretext of a civilian nuclear programme. However, Iran says its nuclear programme is to generate electricity.

ElBaradei said there is no evidence of diversion in Iran's nuclear activities and the IAEA cannot act based on allegations made by certain countries.

"As I have said many times and I continue to say today, the agency has no complete proof that there is an ongoing weapons programme in Iran," he added.