Written by Memri
June 23, 2008
Memri Dispatch 1967
IAEA Chief ElBaradei: Iran Can Produce Enough Enriched Uranium for a Nuclear Bomb in Six Months to a Year
The following are excerpts from an interview with IAEA director-general Mohamed ElBaradei. The interview aired on Al-Arabiya TV on June 20, 2008. (To view this clip go to MEMRI TV).
If It Wants To Produce Nuclear Weapons, Iran Would Have To "Leave The NPT, Expel The IAEA Inspectors, And... It Would Need At Least Six Months to One Year"
Mohamed ElBaradei: "If Iran wants to turn to the production of nuclear weapons, it must leave the NPT, expel the IAEA inspectors, and then it would need at least... Considering the number of centrifuges and the quantity of uranium Iran has..."
Interviewer: "How much time would it need?"
ElBaradei: "It would need at least six months to one year. Therefore, Iran will not be able to reach the point where we would wake up one morning to an Iran with a nuclear weapon."
Interviewer: "Excuse me, I would like to clarify this for our viewers. If Iran decides today to expel the IAEA from the country, it will need six months..."
ElBaradei: "Or one year, at least..."
Interviewer: "... to produce [nuclear] weapons?"
ElBaradei: "It would need this period to produce a weapon, and to obtain highly-enriched uranium in sufficient quantities for a single nuclear weapon." [...]
"A Military Strike [Against Iran] Would Be the Worst Thing Possible"
"In my view, a military strike would be the worst thing possible. It would turn the Middle East into a ball of fire."
Interviewer: "It would be worse than sanctions?"
ElBaradei: "Much worse, because a military strike would mean, first and foremost, that even if Iran does not produce nuclear weapons today, it would implement a so-called 'crash course,' or an accelerated plan to produce a nuclear weapon, with the agreement and blessing of all the Iranians – even the Iranians living in the West."
Interviewer: "Dr. ElBaradei, what do the Iranian officials tell you when you confront them about the need for more transparency?"
ElBaradei: "They say there will be more transparency, but at the end of the day, I'd rather wait to see this transparency.
"I always think of resigning in the event of a military strike."
Interviewer: "You will resign in the event that..."
ElBaradei: "If military force is used, I would conclude that there is no mechanism left for me to defend."
Interviewer: "This is a threat directed at the Americans – if you strike, I will resign."
ElBaradei: "I am not doing this for material profit. If I was working in the private sector, I would... I am doing this out of the conviction that I am defending shared values. If we deviate from these shared values..."
Interviewer: "So there is no justification for an attack..."
"There Will Be No Point in My Continuing My Work If Military Force Is Used"
ElBaradei: "The day I believe that the international system has begun to collapse is the day I will resign."
Interviewer: "If the world reaches a consensus that there is no solution but to attack Iran, would you still resign? What if Europe, America, and the entire West agree that the only resolution is a military one?"
ElBaradei: "I don't think that what we are seeing today in Iran poses a clear, imminent, and immediate danger."
Interviewer: "But in a year or two, it could become..."
ElBaradei: "If this happens, it will be a different story, but if a military strike is launched against Iran now, in my opinion, I will have no choice but to..."
Interviewer: "So there is no justification for a strike against Iran today."
ElBaradei: "None whatsoever. There will be no point in my continuing my work if military force is used at present."
The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) explores the Middle East through the region's media. MEMRI bridges the language gap which exists between the West and the Middle East, providing timely translations of Arabic, Persian, and Turkish media, as well as original analysis of political, ideological, intellectual, social, cultural, and religious trends in the Middle East.