Mohamed ElBaradei, the world's biggest idiot
ElBaradei: Iran not an immediate nuclear threatMohamed, what grade is that hashish you're smoking?
MONTEREY, California (Reuters) - Iran does not pose an immediate nuclear threat and the world must act cautiously to avoid repeating mistakes made with Iraq and North Korea, the head of the U.N, nuclear watchdog agency said on Tuesday.
Mohamed ElBaradei, director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said the world shouldn't "jump the gun" with erroneous information as he said the U.S.-led coalition did in Iraq in 2003, nor should it push the country into retaliation as international sanctions did in North Korea.
"Our assessment is that there is no immediate threat," the winner of the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize told a forum organized by the Monterey Institute of International Studies south of San Francisco. "We still have lots of time to investigate."
"You look around in the Middle East right now and it's a total mess," he said. "You can not add oil to that fire."
The recent violent history in Iraq bears an important lesson for diplomacy with neighboring Iran, the diplomat said. "We should not jump the gun. We should be very careful about assessing the information available to us," he said.
The Bush administration led a coalition into Iraq in 2003 saying President Saddam Hussein was developing weapons of mass destruction. No such weapons were found.
"I ask myself every day if that's the way we want to go in getting rid of every single dictator," ElBaradei said.
While it was unclear whether Iran ultimately intended to redirect its development of nuclear power into a weapons system, it was clear there was no danger of that right now, he said.
The five U.N. Security Council permanent powers and Germany, trying to curb Tehran's nuclear program, are planning to meet in Vienna on Thursday to try to finalize a package of incentives for Iran to halt uranium enrichment along with penalties if it keeps defying international pressure.
ElBaradei said he believed a majority in the Iranian leadership was still interested in a negotiated solution and normal relations with the world. The United States is pressing for tough U.N. sanctions if Iran does not comply.
"It would be terrible" to try to strengthen sanctions, which could force Iran to retaliate, he said.
"We have learned some lessons from North Korea," he said. "When you push a country into a corner, you are giving the driver's seat to the hard-liners there."
Iran would be ruled by "hard-liners" regardless. Iran is as trustworthy with "we only want nuclear energy" as Hitler was trustworthy enough not to push past the Sudentenland. Iran wants "negotiated solutions" in the same way Hitler conned Chamberlain at Munich. Iran will "retaliate" against sanctions in the same way that North Korea, which developed its nuclear weapon technology in spite of ElBaradei and his circus, was working toward nukes in spite of promising Bill Clinton otherwise. Are Mohamed & Co. really this naïve? Iran will press for its own nuclear weapons if sanctions are imposed, and if sanctions are not or if they are later lifted, Iran will continue to develop nuclear weapons anyway. And it is Iran who is adding oil to the Middle East fire, whether in its long-term pursuit of destructive nuclear technology, its state support of terrorists, or its support of insurgents in Iraq.
Iran is not an immediate threat, but it will be. Estimates of a nuclear-armed Iran have ranged from five to ten years, and judging by Iran's rush work on developing missile technology, I fear that five years is optimistic. As our friend McQ of QandO said of a 10-15 year estimate, "My assumption is this information is being provided by the same agencies that said Iraq had WMDs and that India was years away from a nuclear weapon and Pakistan hadn't a clue."
The WMD issue is still open, however. None have been found...yet. There's still former Iraqi general Sada, who said that the Iraqi army transported WMD materials to Syria using stripped-down commercial aircraft. This fits with all the "convoys to Syria" rumors just before our invasion. Charles Lewis wrote a lengthy piece that mentioned Prada and other sources, essentially asking, "We've come so close to bringing the stuff to daylight, so why is the Bush administration stalling and suppressing?" Others criticize the Bush administration's "handling" of the war, and I do agree, but for a different reason than virtually anyone: Bush and his staff could hit home runs in the realm of public support, but they're so lackadaisical, as if they trust mainstream media to cover certain things.
Toppling Saddam is not what we ought to do to "any dictator," just to those whose regimes represent a clear threat to the United States people. Saddam Hussein, for example, who may not have had direct involvement with 9/11 but undeniably harbored and supported terrorists, including al Qaeda. Considering that Iran has called the United States "the Great Satan" since 1979, kidnapped American citizens, and financially and otherwise supported terrorists who have killed innocent civilians of many nationalities, we may have no choice but to add it to the list, and very soon. Iran cannot be trusted, period, with any nuclear technology.