Tags: Iraqi | Nukes | Unlikely | Says | Top | U.N. | Nuclear

Iraqi Nukes Unlikely, Says Top U.N. Nuclear Inspector

Tuesday, 19 November 2002 12:00 AM

ElBaradei assumed his post four years ago, replacing Hans Blix, who is now the U.N.'s chief non-nuclear weapons inspector. Before this assignment, ElBaradei served as Blix's chief legal adviser at the IAEA.

Excerpts of the interview:

Newsmax - When will the IAEA be fully operational in Iraq?

E - "Probably a couple of months, early next year, January, early February."

Newsmax - How long will it take to assess Iraq's current nuclear capabilities?

E - "Hard to say ... a year, maybe more." [ElBaradei points out that within one year, he must report to the Security Council on Iraqi cooperation ... not the state of Iraq's nuclear program.]

Newsmax - Could Iraq have secretly reconstituted its nuclear program since December 1998?

E - "It is difficult in our estimation to hide a complete nuclear weapons program. Whether you can hide a small facility for research and development, that is possible .... What we believe is that an entire program to be hidden is difficult because nuclear has signatures .... Nuclear is the most dangerous, but it is also the easiest to detect."

Newsmax - What about reports on Iraq trying to buy yellowcake (uranium) in Africa?

E - "We still need to go and get the details and investigate that. We have seen the reports in the American press and British press, but we still need to follow up on that and see."

Newsmax - What about interviewing Iraqi scientists outside Iraq?

E - "We have to work out the mechanisms ... we have not done so yet [with UNMOVIC and the Iraqis and prospective nations to host these outside interviews]. If we take people out of the country, we have to secure a place, a safe haven, an asylum. There are a lot of practical issues we need to work through. ...

"We have done a lot of very successful interviews in the country, in the workplace. A lot of no notice interviews at workplaces were very helpful [in the past]."

ElBaradei explained that in the past, surprise interviews in the workplace gave the IAEA an opportunity that not only provided valuable feedback but also allowed an inspection of lab facilities and records at the same time. They later could compare the interviews with findings of the lab or classroom's equipment and files.

It is believed that the so-called "workplace interviews" could resume by the end of this month, although another IAEA official told NewsMax on the issue of outside Iraq interviews, contrary to several published reports, "the IAEA will not have 747s loaded with green cards to ferry Iraqi scientists out of the country."

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ElBaradei assumed his post four years ago, replacing Hans Blix, who is now the U.N.'s chief non-nuclear weapons inspector.Before this assignment, ElBaradei served as Blix's chief legal adviser at the IAEA. Excerpts of the interview: Newsmax -When will the IAEA be...
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2002-00-19
Tuesday, 19 November 2002 12:00 AM
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