ElBaradei: Iran Nowhere Near Acquiring Nuclear Weapons

In an interview today, UN nuclear watchdog chief Mohammed ElBaradei said that Iran would be lacking key components for the production of a nuclear weapon even if they chose to do so. According to ElBaradei “they do not have even the nuclear material, the raw unenriched uranium to develop one nuclear weapon if they decide to do so.”

The IAEA chief’s assessments are in stark contrast to accusations and bellicose rhetoric regarding the ultimate goal and progress of Iran’s nuclear program. The European Union has accused Iran of “methodically pursuing a program aimed at acquiring the nuclear bomb.” Permanent members of the UN Security Council met today to discuss further sanctions against the Iranians, but failed once again to reach an agreement.

The primary concern cited is Iran’s enrichment of uranium for its civilian nuclear power plant, presently being constructed by Russia. The IAEA has certified that Iran is not diverting any of its nuclear material to a weapons program, and they are only enriching to the level needed for energy production, insufficient to produce nuclear weapons at any rate. Iran suggested earlier this month it would reconsider its enrichment program in return for international supply guarantees.

The IAEA has also been charged with investigating other allegations related to a “stolen laptop” acquired by the United States several years ago from militant Iranian opposition group the Mujahideen al-Khalq. Iran has refused the IAEA access to certain facilities, insisting the documents are obvious forgeries and the investigation would require them to disclose information about their conventional military arsenal.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for Antiwar.com. He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.