US, Australia Plotted to Oust IAEA Chief, Cables Reveal

US attempted to scheme against re-election of Mohamed ElBaradei as head of IAEA for not pushing Iran

The US and Australia schemed unsuccessfully in 2005 to block Egyptian Mohamed ElBaradei’s election to a third term as head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), a newly leaked US diplomatic cable shows.

The cable describes a conversation between Australian officials and a US special envoy for nuclear non-proliferation, Jackie Sanders. Both had concerns that the Egyptian diplomat would secure Iran’s right to civilian nuclear power and that he would fail to declare Iran in non-compliance with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

In fact, Iran does have a right under the NPT to develop nuclear power for peaceful civilian purposes and was not in violation of the treaty. But the US position for some time has been to itself violate the NPT, as well as support Israel’s violation of it, while attempting to impose make-believe restrictions on Iran under the rubric of the treaty.

Australian officials said there weren’t enough votes on the IAEA board of governors needed to deny Mr ElBaradei re-election, “but that did not stop them from speculating on ways to try to prevent his re-election”, said the cable.

“Sanders responded that there had been a time in the past when the numbers of ElBaradei non-supporters were there, and the issue was not over yet,” the cable said.

“Carlson observed that in a secret ballot, anything could happen. It might be useful to put the word out in Vienna that ElBaradei could fail,” it said. The cable also included an informal document forwarded by Mr Carlson entitled The case against ElBaradei, wherein ElBaradei is accused to stalling at the IAEA to clear Iran of being deemed in violation of the NPT.

ElBaradei survived the plot to oust him and served as head of the IAEA until 2009.

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Author: John Glaser

John Glaser writes for Antiwar.com.