ElBaradei: Iran not after bomb
Mohamed ElBaradei at the World Economic Forum in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt
The UN nuclear watchdog chief Mohamed ElBaradei has once again highlighted the lack of evidence to prove Iran is after a nuclear bomb.
Speaking at a session of the World Economic Forum on the Middle East, ElBaradei reiterated the International Atomic Energy Agency has no evidence that Iran is seeking to develop an atomic bomb.
"We haven't seen indications or any concrete evidence that Iran is building a nuclear weapon and I've been saying that consistently for the last five years," ElBaradei asserted.
He said that the issue of Iran's nuclear standoff with the West is a problem of trust.
The IAEA boss referred to a December 3 joint assessment by 16 US spy agencies, which conceded that Tehran is not running a nuclear weapons program, and said that the US intelligence report agreed with his agency's assessment on Iran's nuclear program.
ElBaradei also criticized US President George W. Bush's remarks at the forum and suggested that the US hold direct talks with Iran in order to resolve the long-drawn-out standoff over the country's nuclear program.
"If you need to resolve an issue, you need to see where people are coming from," said ElBaradei. "We should have learned from now that dialogue, not isolation, is the way to move forward."
Iran has repeatedly stated that as a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, it is entitled to enriching uranium, which will provide fuel for the country's under-construction nuclear power plants.
However, the US president's flagrant disregard for international reports on Iran indicates his determination to drum up support for an act of aggression against the Islamic Republic.
"I have said Iran is dangerous, and the NIE estimate doesn't do anything to change my opinion about the danger Iran poses to the world - quite the contrary," Bush said in response to the release of the US National Intelligence Estimate.