Israel most serious threat to Middle East: ElBaradei

October 5, 2009 - 0:0

TEHRAN -- International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Mohamed ElBaradei has called Israel’s nuclear arsenal the most serious threat in the region.

At a joint press conference with Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Director Ali-Akbar Salehi in Tehran on Sunday, ElBaradei said that Israel has not granted IAEA inspectors access to its nuclear facilities for thirty years.
Israel is the only player in the Middle East that possesses nuclear weapons.
The Zionist regime first began developing a nuclear reactor in the southern desert town of Dimona in the 1950s.
It is unclear if and when it developed its first nuclear weapon and how many of them it has since obtained, but foreign intelligence estimates have commonly put the number at up to 200.
ElBaradei insisted that the international community and the IAEA would take the measures necessary to promote world peace and guarantee international security.
He said he came to Iran to discuss technical cooperation and issues about power plant equipment.
“Iran’s nuclear issue can be resolved through dialogue and diplomacy, and I have never seen such determination to resolve this issue,” he told reporters.
Iran, the 5+1 group, and the IAEA have held constructive negotiations, and U.S. President Barack Obama and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad have both expressed optimism about the talks.
Negotiators from Iran and the 5+1 group (France, the United States, Russia, China, Britain, and Germany) gathered in Geneva on October 1 to discuss Iran’s updated package of proposals.
ElBaradei also announced that IAEA inspectors will visit Iran’s new nuclear fuel enrichment facility on October 25.
“It is important for us to send our inspectors to do a comprehensive verification of that facility, to assure ourselves that it is a facility that is built for peaceful purposes,” he said. “We agreed that our inspectors would come here on the 25th of October to do the inspection and to go to Qom, and I hope and I trust that Iran will be as transparent with our inspectors team as possible.”
Iran has mastered nuclear technology but there are a few remaining questions about the country’s intentions, he added.
Iran has mastered the nuclear fuel cycle and related technology and possesses a research reactor, but the main issue is the need to address the concerns of the international community, he noted.
ElBaradei called on Tehran to observe the terms of the additional protocol to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to address the world’s concerns.
He went on to say that there is no evidence of diversion in Iran’s nuclear activities and the IAEA cannot act based on allegations made by certain countries.
“As I have said many times and I continue to say today, the agency has no complete proof that there is an ongoing weapons program in Iran,” ElBaradei stated.
Commenting on Iran’s request for 20 percent enriched nuclear fuel for the Tehran research reactor, he said Salehi is scheduled to travel to Vienna on October 19 to discuss the issue with officials from the U.S., Russia, and France.
Certain countries have said they are ready to provide Iran with the 20 percent enriched nuclear fuel, which is a sign of their good will, he added.