Video: IAEA’s ElBaradei: Iran Could Have a Nuke Within 6 Months
As we noted Friday, the media were reporting that IAEA “watchdog” Mohamed ElBaradei warned that an attack on Iran would turn the Middle East into a “ball of fire” (goodness gracious), and threatened to quit his job.
What the media did not tell you: in this interview in Arabic with Al-Arabiya TV, ElBaradei also said, quite explicitly, that Iran is able to produce a nuclear weapon in six months to a year. (Courtesy of MEMRI TV.)
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Following are excerpts from an interview with IAEA Director-General Dr. Muhammad Al-Baradei, which aired on Al-Arabiya TV on June 20, 2008.
Muhammad Al-Baradei: If Iran wants to turn to the production of nuclear weapons, it must leave the NPT, expel the IAEA inspectors, and then it would need at least… Considering the number of centrifuges and the quantity of uranium Iran has…
Interviewer: How much time would it need?
Muhammad Al-Baradei: It would need at least six months to one year. Therefore, Iran will not be able to reach the point where we would wake up one morning to an Iran with a nuclear weapon.
Interviewer: Excuse me, I would like to clarify this for our viewers. If Iran decides today to expel the IAEA from the country, it will need six months…
Muhammad Al-Baradei: Or one year, at least…
Interviewer:… to produce [nuclear] weapons?
Muhammad Al-Baradei: It would need this period to produce a weapon, and to obtain highly-enriched uranium in sufficient quantities for a single nuclear weapon.
In my view, a military strike would be the worst thing possible. It would turn the Middle East into a ball of fire.
Interviewer: It would be worse than sanctions?
Muhammad Al-Baradei: Much worse, because a military strike would mean, first and foremost, that even if Iran does not produce nuclear weapons today, it would implement a so-called “crash course,” or an accelerated plan to produce a nuclear weapon, with the agreement and blessing of all the Iranians – even the Iranians living in the West.
Interviewer: Dr. Al-Baradei, what do the Iranian officials tell you when you confront them about the need for more transparency?
Muhammad Al-Baradei: They say there will be more transparency, but at the end of the day, I’d rather wait to see this transparency.
I always think of resigning in the event of a military strike.
Interviewer: You will resign in the event that…
Muhammad Al-Baradei: If military force is used, I would conclude that there is no mechanism left for me to defend.
Interviewer: This is a threat directed at the Americans – if you strike, I will resign.
Muhammad Al-Baradei: I am not doing this for material profit. If I was working in the private sector, I would… I am doing this out of the conviction that I am defending shared values. If we deviate from these shared values…
Interviewer: So there is no justification for an attack…
Muhammad Al-Baradei: The day I believe that the international system has begun to collapse is the day I will resign.
Interviewer: If the world reaches a consensus that there is no solution but to attack Iran, would you still resign? What if Europe, America, and the entire West agree that the only resolution is a military one?
Muhammad Al-Baradei: I don’t think that what we are seeing today in Iran poses a clear, imminent, and immediate danger.
Interviewer: But in a year or two, it could become…
Muhammad Al-Baradei: If this happens, it will be a different story, but if a military strike is launched against Iran now, in my opinion, I will have no choice but to…
Interviewer: So there is no justification for a strike against Iran today.
Muhammad Al-Baradei: None whatsoever. There will be no point for me to continue doing my work if military force is used at present.