ElBaradei urges US to join EU on Iran
DAVOS: The head of the UN nuclear watchdog on Friday urged the United States to join forces with the EU to persuade Iran to give up atomic processes that could be used to make weapons.
France, Britain and Germany are leading a European Union initiative to push Tehran to abandon its work on producing nuclear fuel in exchange for economic and political incentives.
Washington, which accuses Iran of developing nuclear weapons under cover of a civilian atomic energy programme, says this effort is doomed and has called for UN Security Council sanctions to be imposed on the Islamic republic.
Asked if recent US statements that military action could be used to stop Iran from getting a bomb, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Mohamed ElBaradei said he hoped the United States would opt for diplomacy.
“I would hope that the US eventually would be actively engaged with the Europeans in the dialogue with Iran,” ElBaradei told Reuters on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in this Alpine ski resort.
Iran denies wanting weapons and insists its nuclear ambitions are limited to the peaceful generation of electricity.
The IAEA has been investigating Iran’s programme for more than two years. It has found no clear evidence that Iran is trying to get atomic weapons, but did find that Iran concealed potentially arms-related activities for nearly two decades.
ElBaradei said Iran has been cooperating with IAEA inspectors, though the agency has more work to do there.
“So far, we are getting good cooperation and I think we still have work to do. But I’m optimistic that we’re getting good positive cooperation.”
He added that it was up to Iran to build confidence that its nuclear ambitions did not include the bomb.
“There is still a lot of concern about the Iranian programme,” he said. “The more Iran cooperates the better for them and for the international community.” afp