Head of the International Atomic Energy Agency says the Bush administration's "ignorance and arrogance" has led to today's "nuclear Iran".
In an interview with the New York Times, Mohamed ElBaradei said the previous US administration failed to seize countless diplomatic opportunities to engage Iran over its controversial nuclear program.
ElBaradei blamed the Bush administration for the fact that "Iran now has close to 5,500 centrifuges, and they have 1,000 kilos of low enriched uranium, and they have the know-how."
The IAEA chief criticized US policies of the Bush era for only consisting of two mantras -- "Iran should not have the knowledge and should not spin one single centrifuge. They kept saying, wait, Iran is not North Korea, it will buckle. That was absolutely a mistake."
Elbaradei described former US vice president Dick Cheney as Star Wars character Darth Vader and said "We got Darth Vader and company saying Iran was in the axis of evil and we have to change this regime."
The director-general of the Vienna-based UN body went on to rule out the contention that Iran's nuclear activities pose an immediate threat to the world and said the notion that the country "could go to a weapon tomorrow" is "hype."
Referring to the US President, Barack Obama's pledge to soften the former Bush administration's line against talking to Iran, ElBaradei said at least two years of US-Iran talks is needed, given the degree of mistrust, with "every grievance on the table."
ElBaradei also embraced the proposal put forward by President Obama for a nuclear-free world.
"You can't have nine countries telling the likes of Iran, nuclear weapons are dangerous for you, but we need to go on refining our arsenals," he argued. source
5 hours ago