The head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog said on Tuesday its failure to detect nuclear arms work in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq in the 1980s showed his inspectors lacked authority to pre-empt proliferators.
His remark was telling because an investigation of Iran by the agency has stalled over Tehran’s failure to explain allegations of secret nuclear arms research and its refusal to grant inspectors access to military-affiliated sites and officials they deem relevant.
Mohamed ElBaradei, director of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said the crux of the problem was that some countries under investigation, the latest being Syria, had failed to ratify an agency protocol permitting short-notice IAEA visits to sites not declared to be nuclear to ensure no bomb-related work was going on at secret locations.
“Our legal authority is very limited. With Iraq, we have discovered that unless we have the Additional Protocol in place, we will not really be able to discover undeclared activities,” he said on the sidelines of the agency’s annual 145-nation General Conference in Vienna.
“Our experience is that any proliferator will not really go for declared diverted activities (that would quickly reveal them as violators of the Non-Proliferation Treaty), they will go for completely clandestine undeclared activities,” he said.
In the 1970s and 1980s, Iraq under Saddam Hussein developed a nuclear weapons program hidden fro… >>>