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IAEA can't confirm if Iran N-programme peaceful

ElBaradei said that even after carrying out intense verifications in Iran, he is not in a position to make a judgment.

world Updated: Jan 16, 2006 15:44 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India

The Chief of the United Nations' International Atomic Energy Agency Mohamed ElBaradei has said he can't confirm whether Iran's nuclear programme is peaceful.

"If they (Iran) have the nuclear material and they have a parallel weaponisation programme along the way, they are really not very far—a few months—from a weapon," he told Newsweek in an interview to be published in its upcoming issue.

"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) programme," ElBaradei says.

"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 programme."

Tensions between the United States and its Western allied and Iran are escalating and an emergency meeting of the IAEA board may be called within the next few weeks to refer the matter to the UN Security Council which is the only organ authorized to impose sanction.

But ElBaradei says, "I'll tell you, nobody wants to go to the Security Council -- if they can avoid that...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."

First Published: Jan 16, 2006 15:44 IST