The best solution to the problem posed by Iran’s nuclear program would be for the entire Middle East to give up efforts to acquire weapons of mass destruction, Hans Blix declared.
Blix, who headed the United Nations commission searching for WMDs in Iraq before the U.S. invasion, was asked in an interview with Spiegel Online how Iran can be “contained” in the long term.
“The best thing,” Blix responded, “would be for the entire Middle East to become a WMD-free zone. Of course, Israel wouldn't play along without substantial progress in the peace process. But what would be possible today, politically speaking, is a zone in which neither uranium is enriched nor plutonium reprocessed.
“We also hear that countries like Egypt and Jordan want nuclear power. A regional solution would mean that the finger is not being pointed exclusively at Iran.”
Citing the National Intelligence Estimate Report that Iran had given up its nuclear weapons program four years ago, interviewer Andre Anwar asked if President Bush would likely have attacked Iran had the report not been issued.
“There are many indications that the White House was in fact planning an attack,” said Blix.
“It was said that the Bush administration wanted to complete this military strike as its last act before it left office. The most recent U.S. intelligence report now makes war an impossibility.
“The United States traditionally justifies its attacks with its doctrine of pre-emptive self-defense. But now that the official word is out that Iran neither has nor is developing weapons of mass destruction, this is no longer an option.”
Many observers have been skeptical of the NIE’s findings regarding Iran’s efforts to acquire nuclear weapons.
And Blix acknowledged that the report “changes nothing about the fact that Iran is in the process of acquiring the capacity to enrich uranium, even if Tehran isn't interested in military objectives at the moment. It is important to continue trying to convince Iran to give up its uranium enrichment program…
“Industrial-scale uranium enrichment in Iran shortens the technical path to a weapons option. But we have the same situation in other countries as well.”
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