IAEA chief warns against attacks on nuclear plants

Threats to attack nuclear plants on suspicion they would one day make bombs could undermine the Non-Proliferation Treaty, the chief of the U.N. nuclear watchdog said.

IAEA chief warns against attacks on nuclear plants

"Unilateral military action undermines the international treaty framework. We're standing at an historic turning point," Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, told Der Spiegel magazine.

A senior Israeli official said on Friday an attack on Iran looked "unavoidable" claiming U.N. sanctions seemed unable to prevent Tehran developing nuclear technology with bomb-making potential.

ElBaradei said a growing threat to peace was coming from proliferation and an increasing readiness to consider military action against nuclear targets regarded as suspicious.

Iran has said it is enriching uranium only for electricity, not weapons, and that the programme will remain under U.N. monitoring.

"The willingness to cooperate on the Iranian side leaves something to be desired. We have pressing questions," ElBaradei said.

He said the Islamic Republic was "sending a message to the whole world: we could build the bomb relatively soon."

ElBaradei did not elaborate on this point in excerpts of his remarks released by Der Spiegel on Saturday ahead of Monday's publication.

ElBaradei told a meeting of the IAEA's 35-nation Board of Governors on Monday that Syria had agreed to a June 22-24 inspector visit to examine the allegations, denied by Damascus.

Diplomats said Syria had refused IAEA requests to examine three sites other than the bombed one.

ElBaradei was quoted by Der Spiegel as saying the IAEA would push for access to "other places beyond the complex that was destroyed" and he expected "absolute transparency" from Syria.


Güncelleme Tarihi: 09 Haziran 2008, 07:20