Sunday, October 28, 2007

Nuke Watchdog Head Slams Anti-Iran Rhetoric

By Cernig

The head of the UN's nuclear watchdog, the IAEA, has again slammed anti-Iran rhetoric from the Bush administration and repeated that the Agency has no evidence of an Iranian nuclear weapons program.
The head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog said Sunday he had no evidence Iran was working actively to build nuclear weapons and expressed concern that escalating rhetoric from the U.S. could bring disaster.

"We have information that there has been maybe some studies about possible weaponization," said Mohamed ElBaradei, who leads the International Atomic Energy Agency. "That's why we have said that we cannot give Iran a pass right now, because there is still a lot of question marks."

"But have we seen Iran having the nuclear material that can readily be used into a weapon? No. Have we seen an active weaponization program? No." Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice accused Iran this month of "lying" about the aim of its nuclear program. She said there is no doubt Tehran wants the capability to produce nuclear weapons and has deceived the IAEA about its intentions.

Vice President Dick Cheney has raised the prospect of "serious consequences" if Iran were found to be working toward developing a nuclear weapon. Last week, the Bush administration announced harsh penalties against the Iranian military and state-owned banking systems in hopes of raising pressure on the world financial system to cut ties with Tehran.

ElBaradei said he was worried about the growing rhetoric from the U.S., which he noted focused on Iran's alleged intentions to build a nuclear weapon rather than evidence the country was actively doing so. If there is actual evidence, ElBaradei said he would welcome seeing it.

"I'm very much concerned about confrontation, building confrontation, because that would lead absolutely to a disaster. I see no military solution. The only durable solution is through negotiation and inspection," he said.
I fully expect the extreme right to attack el-Baradei again for what they will call "meddling" in diplomacy instead of just quietly doing inspections. But surely, if his Agency's inspections and his experts are saying something at such variance with the bush administration line, he has a duty to speak up. Especially when, as never gets reported in the US media, the US has passed the IAEA dozens of leads about the alleged iranian nuclear weapons program and on every single occasion US intelligence assessments and suspicions have proven to be based on false claims by regime-change outfits like the MeK and Ken Timmerman's group.

Of course, backing both the US and Iran into belligerent corners is seen by the Fourth Branch and it's wormtongues as a feature, not a bug.

The same is true of the evolving story of EFP penetrators, supposedly supplied by Iran to Shiite militias in Iraq. This narrative has been aggressively pushed despite many gaping holes in the official line. Veteran journalist Gareth Porter has done an excellent job of following the evolving hype and his latest article sets out the contrary evidence neatly. Iraqi machine shops have been producing their own EFPs for years and the Iraqis almost certainly managed to get the know-how from Hezboullah - the world experts on EFP's - without any involvement from Iran being needed.

El Baradei is the man appointed by the international community to head up the agency responsible for inspections and investigations of alleged illegal nuclear programs. He has done an excellent job - and was correct about Iraq's suppoed program the last time the Bush administration's warmongers tried to pressure him out of his job for speaking up about their fixing the facts around the policy. When he is criticized now, the world should understand that attacks on him and his agency are aimed at silencing a contrary voice against the narrative and do not stem from real concerns about his interfering with the diplomatic process.

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