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'Military action can't solve Iran nuclear issue'

ElBaradei warns that Iran could be pushed to strive for nuclear weapons if it is hit while seeking no such weapons.

world Updated: Feb 05, 2008 13:59 IST

Visiting UN nuclear watchdog chief Mohamed ElBaradei has warned against military action to solve the Iranian nuclear issue, the Egyptian official MENA news agency reported.

In an interview with Egyptian TV, ElBaradei, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said on Monday that a military strike to settle the Iranian nuclear issue would complicate the situation and send the Middle East into a vicious cycle of violence.

ElBaradei warned that Iran could be pushed to strive for nuclear weapons if it is hit while seeking no such weapons.

Citing progress in negotiations on the Iranian nuclear file, ElBaradei voiced his hope that the issue would be solved this year.

Some countries, including the US, have accused Iran of trying to develop nuclear weapons under the cover of a civilian nuclear programme, which has been repeatedly denied by Tehran.

ElBaradei, who is expected to issue a report by Feburary 20 on his visit to Iran and IAEA's inquiry into Iran's nuclear activity, said on Sunday that the UN nuclear watchdog was making "good progress" in finishing outstanding issues on Iran's nuclear dossier.

Meanwhile, major countries are mulling a third sanction resolution against Iran after the UN Security Council adopted two resolutions - one in December 2006 and the other in March 2007 - to force Iran to suspend its uranium enrichment activities and give up nuclear programmes.

Iran has downplayed the effect of possible new sanctions, saying Tehran would show "serious and logical reaction" if the Security Council issued a third resolution.