Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Iran wants nuclear weapon technology - ElBaradei - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
Select Page

LONDON, (Reuters) – Iran wants the ability to build nuclear weapons to gain a reputation as a major power in the Middle East, the head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog said in a BBC interview broadcast on Wednesday.

Mohamed ElBaradei, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said Iran sees nuclear weapons as an “insurance policy” against perceived threats from neighbouring countries or the United States.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s disputed re-election has cast doubt on Western powers’ hopes of a new dialogue with Iran over its nuclear programme, which Iran says is peaceful rather than military.

“My gut feeling is that Iran definitely would like to have the technology … that would enable it to have nuclear weapons if they decided to do so,” ElBaradei told the BBC. “It wants to send a message to its neighbours, it wants to send a message to the rest of the world: yes, don’t mess with us, we can have nuclear weapons if we want it.

“But the ultimate aim of Iran, as I understand it, is that they want to be recognised as a major power in the Middle East and they are. “This is to them the road to get that recognition to power and prestige and … an insurance policy against what they heard in the past about regime change, axis of evil.”

Ahmadinejad indicated on Sunday that there would be no change in nuclear policy during his second term, saying the issue “belongs in the past”.

Six countries, including European Union members Britain, France and Germany, have offered Iran economic and other incentives if it stops enriching uranium, a process that can make fuel for power plants or weapons.

Iran says it wants nuclear technology to generate electricity.

Supporters of Iran’s defeated presidential candidate Mirhossein Mousavi plan a fifth day of protests on Wednesday over the legitimacy of the election.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

More Posts

Follow Me:
FacebookGoogle PlusYouTube