ElBaradei: West hyping Iran concerns

ElBaradei: West hyping Iran concerns
# 18 January 2011 19:28 (UTC +04:00)
"There’s a lot of hype in this debate," Mohamed ElBaradei said in an interview with the Austrian news agency APA published on Tuesday.

The United States and its allies accuse Iran of following a military nuclear program, but Tehran has repeatedly refuted the charges.

Under Western pressure, the UN Security Council imposed a fourth round of sanctions against Iran’s financial and military sectors in June.

Tehran argues that as a member of the IAEA and a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the country has the right to use peaceful nuclear energy.

Last year, ElBaradei hailed a nuclear declaration signed between Iran, Brazil, and Turkey that named Turkey as the site of a nuclear fuel swap between Tehran and potential suppliers.

The former IAEA director described last year’s May 17 declaration as “a precursor to full-scope negotiations with world powers.”

"I believe it’s quite a good agreement. I’ve always said that the only way to resolve the Iranian issue is by building trust," said ElBaradei, who headed the IAEA for 12 years until November 2009.

Earlier this month, Iran invited international diplomats to tour the country’s nuclear sites as a goodwill gesture aimed at highlighting the "transparency" of its nuclear program.

Representatives from the IAEA, the Non-aligned Movement, Group of 77, the Arab League and the Syrian and Venezuelan ambassadors to the IAEA visited the sites on Saturday and Sunday.

The visitors made a tour of the Arak heavy water reactor and Natanz enrichment facility.