IAEA chief seeks Arab help on Iranian nuclear crisis

March 10th, 2009 - 11:30 am ICT by IANS  

Vienna, March 10 (DPA) International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Mohamed ElBaradei called Monday for Arab countries to help resolve the Iranian nuclear spat, which seems more achievable under the new US administration.”The neighbours so far have been sitting on the fence,” he said during a speech in the Austrian Parliament in Vienna, hosted by the Austrian Society for Foreign Policy and International Relations.

Under new President Barack Obama, the United States has said that while it would not allow Iran to build nuclear arms, it was willing to engage Iran diplomatically and to solve the nuclear issue through direct talks.

So far, three rounds of United Nations Security Council sanctions have not stopped Iran’s uranium-enrichment programme, which the country’s leaders say is for peaceful uses, but the West belives a cover for producing nuclear bombs.

ElBaradei called on Iran to be more transparent about its nuclear programme, but said that the concern that Tehran could one day use its technology to build a nuclear weapon was a not a technical but rather a political issue.

Therefore, a security structure in the Middle East should be found that also involves Israel, which is widely believed to have nuclear weapons, said the Egyptian, who is set to retire in November from the IAEA.

Iran could turn out to be a positive force in its region, ElBaradei said, referring to the constructive role the country could play in trouble spots such as Syria, Lebanon, Iraq or the Palestinian territories.

“It could also be a source of conflict and confrontation,” he said.

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