VIENNA, Jan. 18 (Xinhua) — The threat posed by Iran’s nuclear program had been exaggerated by the West, former International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) director-general Mohamed ElBaradei said in a published interview.
The interview was conducted by the Austrian Press Agency (APA) and released Tuesday.
In the exclusive interview, ElBaradei said U.S. intelligence agencies believed Iran had been developing nuclear weapons according to a report issued in 2007; however, Iran in fact had stopped this attempt as early as 2003. “Today, this assessment is still correct,” he said.
ElBaradei also said he didn’t rule out that Iran did try to develop nuclear weapons in the 1980s, in the circumstances of Iran’s war against Iraq and threat of Iraq’s chemical weapons attack.
“Every country in this situation would have to think about how to defend itself,” he said and added the nuclear program certainly could help Iran become a “major player in the Middle East”.
The former U.N. nuclear watchdog chief also said, “In the view of Iran, uranium enrichment was a means to an end.” A country which mastered uranium enrichment techniques could “develop nuclear weapons in a relatively short time”. Iran believed t… >>>