Archive for October 29th, 2007

This is a transcript from “AM” on ABC in Australia.

AM – Monday, 29 October , 2007  08:24:00

Reporter: Michael Rowland

TONY EASTLEY: The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency has contradicted US claims that Iran is building a nuclear weapon.

Mohamed ElBaradei says he has seen no evidence that Iran has an active nuclear weapons program and he’s warning the Bush administration a military strike against Iran could ignite a global conflagration.

Mr ElBaradei has also taken a swipe at Israel over its recent attack on a suspected nuclear facility in Syria.

Washington correspondent, Michael Rowland reports.

MICHAEL ROWLAND: On the eve of the US led invasion of Iraq, Mohamed ElBaradei expressed doubts Saddam Hussein was trying to get hold of a nuclear weapon. The Bush administration said he was simply wrong.

It wasn’t long before the nuclear watchdog was vindicated when those weapons of mass destruction didn’t materialise.

Four and a half years later Mr ElBaradei is again taking on George Bush over his assertions Iran wants to join the nuclear club.

MOHAMED ELBARADEI: We cannot give Iran a pass right now because there are still a lot of question mark. But have we seen Iran having the nuclear material that can readily be used into a weapon? No. Have we seen an active weaponisation program? No.

MICHAEL ROWLAND: Over the last week US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Vice President Dick Cheney have been issuing all sorts of veiled warnings to Iran.

CONDOLEEZZA RICE: If Iran’s rulers choose to continue down a path of confrontation, the United States will act.

DICK CHENEY: The Iranian regime needs to know that if it stays on its present course, the international community is prepared to impose serious consequences.

MICHAEL ROWLAND: It’s the sort of talk that unsettles Mohamed ElBaradei, who fears a US military strike on Iran could in turn have very serious consequences.

MOHAMED ELBARADEI: I would hope that we should continue to stop spinning and hyping the Iranian issue, because that’s an issue that could have major conflagration into – not only regionally, but globally.

TONY EASTLEY: The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohamed ElBaradei, ending that report from our Washington correspondent, Michael Rowland.