UN agency warns US over inflammatory rhetoric on Iran

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.

  1. knyffe444

    Democratic Sen. Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, agreed that the current “hot rhetoric” from the U.S. could prove dangerous. “We ought to make it clear that there’s always a military option if Iran goes nuclear, but that we ought to just speak more softly because these hot words that are coming out of the administration, this hot rhetoric plays right into the hands of the fanatics in Iran,” Levin said.

  2. chocolate chip on my shoulder

    U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice accused Iran this month of “lying” about the aim of its nuclear program. She said there is no doubt Tehran wants the capability to produce nuclear weapons and has deceived the IAEA about its intentions.
    It seems to me that I’ve watched these same actions before. Demonize a country before solid proof is found, then pre-emptive invasion without UN approval. Fear based war-mongering is not the way to go. Unless, there is a hidden agenda, whereby fear is useful to freeze the masses from reacting. Then we are just a witness to acts that will ultimately run their course. Why isn’t congress acting? Incredibly frustrating to watch.

  3. mary

    Ya know, I swore I would give all this up, if congress funded anymore War. Unless it was money to bring our children home!!

  4. berkheart32

    Found this of interest too!
    We Must Bomb Iran, Says US Republican Guru
    Toby Harnden, Daily Telegraph, 29/10/2007

    A senior foreign policy adviser to the Republican frontrunner Rudy Giuliani has urged that Iran be bombed using cruise missiles and “bunker busters” to set back Teheran’s nuclear programme by at least five years. The tough message at a time of crisis between the United States and Iraq was delivered by Norman Podhoretz, one of the founders of neoconservatism, who has also imparted his stark advice personally to a receptive President George W. Bush.

    “None of the alternatives to military action – negotiations, sanctions, provoking an internal insurrection – can possibly work,” said Mr Podhoretz. “They’re all ways of evading the terrible choice we have to make which is to either let them get the bomb or to bomb them.”

    In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, Mr Podhoretz said he was certain that bombing raids could be successful. “People I’ve talked to have no doubt we could set it back five or 10 years. There are those who believe we can get the underground facilities as well with these highly sophisticated bunker-busting munitions.”

    Although Mr Podhoretz said he did not speak for Mr Giuliani, the former New York mayor whom he briefs daily appears to have embraced at least the logic of his hard-line views. During a visit to London last month, Mr Giuliani said Iran should be given “an absolute assurance that, if they get to the point that they are going to become a nuclear power, we will prevent them or we will set them back five or 10 years”.

    Mr Podhoretz said: “I was very pleased to see him say that. I was even surprised he went that far. I’m sure some of his political people were telling him to go slow … I wouldn’t advise any candidate to come out and say we have to bomb – it’s not a prudent thing to say at this stage of the campaign.”

    He is the most eminent of a clutch of uncompromisingly hawkish aides assembled by Mr Giuliani. They include Daniel Pipes, who opposes a Palestinian state and believes America should “inspire fear, not affection”, and Michael Rubin, a former Pentagon official who has argued that Condoleezza Rice’s diplomacy is “dangerous” and signals American “weakness” to Teheran.

  5. berkheart32

    HOPE, this gives me a little hope!!
    Many Democrats Opposed to War With Iran
    Anne Flaherty, Associated Press, Sunday, October 28, 2007; 2:48 AM
    Still reeling from the fallout of authorizing the Iraq war five years ago, congressional Democrats are determined to put themselves early on record as opposing military action in Iran. In recent days, many Democrats have gone to great lengths to denounce President Bush’s strategy on Iran, including his decision to label Tehran’s Quds military force as a terrorist group and his statement that a nuclear-armed Iran could lead to “World War III.”

    Democrats also are jumping on Bush’s latest war spending request as proof that the White House is considering airstrikes on Iran’s underground uranium enrichment facilities. Bush wants $88 million to continue developing a “bunker-busting” bomb designed to destroy deeply buried targets such as those in Iran.

    And in case there were doubts about the Democrats’ position, Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin introduced legislation Thursday that would require Bush to seek Congress’ blessing before taking any military action in Iran.

  6. mary

    Berkheart32, “introduced legislation Thursday that would require Bush to seek Congress’ blessing before taking any military action in Iran.”

    Wow, thank God, it’s about time!!

  7. chocolate chip on my shoulder

    The real news, Bush heats up words with Iran

  8. Monty Womack

    Thank goodness people are starting to make the connection between neocon, Norman Podhoretz’s essay on “World War IV”, and the Bush/Cheaney regime. It seems to have become the REAL bible of the far rightleadership, rather than the family values, Christian ethics they would like for the world to believe.
    One of the scariest parts of the whole article to me, the first time I read it (and now) is the lead-in sentence which quotes George W. Bush as telling one of the Middle East heads of state “God told me to go after Saddaam and I did”. Isn’t that pretty much the reason the Jihadist used for flying those planes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on Sept. 11th?
    Nothing is more terrifying than those who would kill others in the name of their God(s) and try to associate it with the teachings of Christ. It appears that our President and many of his staunch followers are engaged in a “Holy War” of most unholy consequence for this country and the world.
    I only hope we can stop this ridiculous war mongering through grassroots movement, but fear, our congress will write another blank check for fear of looking ‘weak’.

  9. chocolate chip on my shoulder

    Senior U.S. diplomats and military officers fear that an incident on the ground in Iraq is a more likely trigger for a possible confrontation with Iran than the nuclear issue, the Los Angeles Times reports. U.S. military policymakers are weighing whether to release some of the Iranian personnel they have taken into custody in Iraq to reduce the risk that radical Iranian elements might seize U.S. military or diplomatic personnel to retaliate, thus raising the danger of an escalation.

    Stephen Kinzer says the US media has played a “shameful role” in helping to “fan the flames of war” with Iran, Inter Press Service reports. He also criticized the US double standard in labeling Kurdish guerillas in Iraq “terrorist” when they attack Turkey but not when they attack Iran.

    Paul Richter & Peter Spiegel, Los Angeles Times, October 31, 2007

  10. mary

    Private Note to Bush from Hagel Calls For Direct, Unconditional, Comprehensive Talks with Iran
    Steve Clemons, The Washington Note, October 31, 2007

    I have just secured a private letter – not yet publicly released – from Senator Chuck Hagel to President Bush and copied to Condoleezza Rice, Robert Gates, and Stephen Hadley. I should add that I did not receive this letter from Senator Hagel but from other sources. The letter urges the President to pursue “direct, unconditional, and comprehensive talks with the Government of Iran.”

    …Hagel warns that “unless there is a strategic shift [from the current situation], I believe we will find ourselves in a dangerous and increasingly isolated position in the coming months.” Hagel continues, “I do not see how the collective actions that we are now taking will produce the results that we seek.” Senator Hagel encourages President Bush to take the bold strategic step of offering a completely different course for US-Iran relations. He writes about direct unconditional talks:

    “An approach such as this would strengthen our ability across the board to deal with Iran. Our friends and allies would be more confident to stand with us if we seek to increase pressure, including tougher sanctions on Iran. It could create a historic new dynamic in US-Iran relations, in part forcing the Iranians to react to the possibility of better relations with the West. We should be prepared that any dialogue process with Iran will take time, and we should continue all efforts, as you have, to engage Iran from a position of strength. We should not wait to consider the option of bilateral talks until all other diplomatic options are exhausted. At that point, it could well be too late.”

  11. knyffe444

    Chris Matthews pounds Neo-Con on Iran

  12. Brendan

    CSPAN: Panel Discussion on U.S. – Iran Relations
    The National Cathedral, Center for Global Justice and Reconciliation held a panel discussion on “The U.S. and Iran: A Difficult History.” Panelists include: Author Stephen Kinzer; Trita Parsi, National Iranian American Council, President; and Bruce Laingen, Iranian held hostage (1979-1981).

  13. jean-eric

    So why doesn’t someone in congress propose revoking the 2001 AUMF?

  14. knyffe444

    The Congress will not act to impeach and try President Bush and the principal officers of the United States, despite its Constitutional duty, unless We, the People, demand it. It has failed utterly to resist the continuing war against Iraq or respond to President Bush’s threats against Iran, Cuba and other nations. Speak up now and tell your representatives to vote for impeachment.

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