Posted by: Tony Carson | 17 September, 2007

Is Bush going to listen to ElBaradei this time?

You will recalled that the Atomic Energy Agency’s Mohamed El Baradei was right about Iraq five years ago when he said there was no evidence that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.

While winning the Nobel Prize for his efforts, he was ignored by the Bush Administration, even belittled. What now?

At a conference of the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA),  in Austria, Mohamed ElBaradei said he saw no clear and present danger, and that talk of force was counter-productive, according to this BBC article, Iran scorns French warning of war.

He said the recent deal between Iran and the IAEA on clearing up questions about its past nuclear activities was an important step if Tehran co-operated.

The NY Times has a longer piece, entitled, An Indispensable Irritant to Iran and Its Foes.

Late in August, Mohamed ElBaradei put the finishing touches on a nuclear accord negotiated in secret with Iran.

The deal would be divisive and risky, one of the biggest gambles of his 10 years as director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency. Iran would answer questions about its clandestine nuclear past in exchange for a series of concessions. With no advance notice or media strategy, Dr. ElBaradei ordered the plan released in the evening. And then he waited.

The next day, diplomats from the United States, France, Britain and Germany marched into his office atop a Vienna skyscraper to deliver a joint protest. The deal, they said, amounted to irresponsible meddling that threatened to undermine a United Nations Security Council strategy to punish, not reward, Tehran.

Dr. ElBaradei, an Egyptian-born lawyer, was polite but firm. “If Iran wants to answer questions, what am I supposed to do, tell them it can’t?” he asked.

Then, brandishing one of his characteristic mangled metaphors, he dismissed his critics as “living room coaches who shoot from the hip.”

Almost five years after he stood up to the Bush administration on Iraq and then won the Nobel Peace Prize for his trouble, Dr. ElBaradei now finds himself at the center of the West’s turbulent confrontation with Iran, derided yet relied upon by all sides.

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Responses

  1. There are obvious differences between Iraq and Iran, most notable being that Iran actually admits uranium enrichment. But aside from this it’s rather similar rhetoric. I recently read that George Bush would rather ride out the remainder of his term, but that Cheney is trying to push through a confrontation with Iran by convincing the President it will provide an enduring legacy of having confronted radical regimes.


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