Serious Implications If Iran fails to Cooperate: El Baradei
Al Jazeera News
24th of Jan, 2004
DAVOS, Switzerland, 23 January 2004 The head of the UNs atomic watchdog warned yesterday of serious implications if the Iranian government failed to fulfill its promise of cooperation to dispel fears about its nuclear program.
At the same time, Mohamed El Baradei warned that a nuclear program by North Korea was the worlds most dangerous non-proliferation issue. The director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency told reporters at the World Economic Forum in Davos that Tehran had been working with the IAEA as it pledged to do late last year.
But he added: It is very important for the agency to come to a conclusion. It will have serious implications if they do not cooperate fully with us in the investigations. I hope and I am confident that they will cooperate.
El Baradei did not elaborate on what he meant by serious implications if the Iranians did not come clean on their nuclear program.
Iranian President Mohammad Khatami gave new assurances in this Swiss ski resort on Wednesday that his country had no nuclear ambitions and opposed the production of nuclear arms. Iran has never had weapons of mass destruction, he said.
Tehran agreed last year to suspend uranium enrichment as a confidence-building measure, and El Baradei said yesterday the IAEA had no indications Tehran was still trying to procure materials to make a bomb. They are working hard to verify the suspension of all procurement activities and I think we are making good progress and I hope we will continue to make progress, he said.
Asked about reports that nuclear materials were being smuggled into Iran, El Baradei said, We have individuals involved, I do not want to jump to the conclusion that the government is involved. We are in the process of investigating this network first of all to stop it and then avoid a recurrence of that very dangerous phenomenon.
On the question of North Korea, which has boldly advertised its nuclear ambitions, El Baradei said: The North Korea issue is the most dangerous non-proliferation issue we are facing today. The good news is that North Korea would like to sit and have a diplomatic settlement to solve that problem. But whether we would have a breakthrough soon depends on the outcome of these six-party talks.
The Stalinist state is due to join a second round of talks this year with China, the United States, South Korea, Russia and Japan aimed at resolving its nuclear crisis. But a first round of discussions held last August ended inconclusively, and El Baradei was pessimistic about an imminent settlement. There is no other way to resolve this issue other than through a dialogue and we must encourage all the parties to find a solution, he said.
Earlier this month, North Korea offered to freeze its nuclear weapons program in return for concessions, including an end to US sanctions and a resumption of energy aid. Washington, however, is holding out for a commitment from Pyongyang to scrap its nuclear ambitions.
What is important is to make them understand that nuclear blackmail does not pay, said El Baradei. That would be a very bad message. http://www.aljazeerah.info/News%20archives/2004%20News%20archives/Jan/23%20n/Serious%20Implications%20If%20Iran%20fails%20to%20Cooperate%20El%20Baradei.htm