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ElBaradei: Iran far from acquiring nuclear weapon

International Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei stated this week that Iran did not have the nuclear material, low enriched uranium, to develop a nuclear weapon. In 2007 The National Intelligence Estimate concluded that Iran is years away from acquiring the technology necessary to produce a nuclear weapon. The UN, the EU and the United States believe Tehran is working towards a nuclear bomb, an assertion Iran denies. Babak Yektafar believes that to properly solve the issue Washington needs to stop treating Tehran with a carrot and stick approach.

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ElBaradei: Iran far from nuclear weapons

ZAA NKWETA, TRNN: International Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei stated this week that Iran did not have the nuclear material, low-enriched uranium, to develop a nuclear weapon.

MOHAMED ELBARADEI, DIRECTOR GENERAL, IAEA: As I just recently mentioned, they still do not have even the nuclear material, you know, the low-enriched uranium, to develop one nuclear weapon if they decide to do so. Even if they decide to walk out tomorrow from the Non-Proliferation Treaty and you go into a lot of scenarios, it is not going to [be] that you are going to see Iran tomorrow having a nuclear weapon.

NKWETA: Despite conclusions from the National Intelligence Estimate stating that Iran is years away from acquiring the technology necessary to produce a nuclear weapon, the UN, the EU, and the United States believe Tehran is working towards a nuclear bomb. Iran denies it. The Real News spoke to Babak Yektafar, editor-in-chief of Washington Prism.

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NKWETA: So where does that leave us now? The EU, the US have pursued this hard line that Iran is pursuing a nuclear bomb, despite the finding of the National Intelligence Estimate. Baradei’s statement coming out yesterday, does this change anything?

BABAK YEKTAFAR, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, WASHINGTONPRISM.ORG: I really don’t believe that it changes much. On one hand, you’re still going to have Iran and the Iranian government saying that Mr. ElBaradei’s statement proves what we’ve been saying all along: we are not actually creating a nuclear bomb. We have tried to explain all the issues that have been raised. And, again, remember, the main reason for all these issues coming up was because Iran was developing a nuclear program in secret, opposite of its obligation to the NPT, which it was a signatory to. And Iran says that they have been trying to clarify all the issues. However, it’s a great deal of mistrust on their side, because they said, "Look at this very last portion that we did try to clarify issues and work with the IAEA, and then again in the last second there is this fabricated intelligence." Of course, the United States and the EU are going to continue their pressure, they’re going to continue and say that, you know, Iran has not answered these latest series of questions. But, you know, as we all know, their hands are pretty tied. You have a situation where there’s an outgoing American government; nobody knows what the incoming government, how they’re going to deal with this issue. EU is pretty much waiting for that; they’ll look to the United States for a lead on this. But we’re pretty much in the same kind of a stalemate. And as I’ve said all along, if the nuclear issue is the real issue and not the Iranian regime, that really can be solved without all the hoopla behind the scenes, as it’s been done all over the world. And if you listen to the Iranian officials, one of the main things that they always say is that for any kind of negotiation, be it the relations between the US and Iran, be it any of these issues that are hot topics, they need to be treated with respect and on the same level as the countries that they’re negotiating with, not as a country that still is being regarded as illegitimate, or that, you know, they shouldn’t even be there, and, you know, they’re up to no good. If they wanted to solve this issue, it could have been solved easily behind the scenes. That is very, very consistent in everything that we’ve been hearing from the Iranian officials for the past two, three years, particularly since Mr. Ahmadinejad came into power. And to me, unfortunately, it seems that that final decision has not been made. They keep talking about carrots-and-sticks approach to Iran, particularly from the United States, but in all honesty, it’s the kind of sticks that, you know, mashes and bashes the carrot all the time, and I don’t know how you can call that a carrot-and-sticks approach. So I’m not really sure exactly where this leaves us, other than to say that not that far from where we were before.

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Please note that TRNN transcripts are typed from a recording of the program; The Real News Network cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.