Iran wants option of nuclear weapon, says ElBaradei

June 17th, 2009 - 2:45 pm ICT by IANS  

London, June 17 (DPA) Iran is mastering nuclear technology and believes firmly in having the option of a nuclear weapon, the chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Mohamed ElBaradei, said in a BBC interview Wednesday.
“It is my gut feeling that Iran would like to have the technology to enable it to have nuclear weapons,” ElBaradei said.

He urged western countries to engage with Iran to remove the incentive for making a bomb.

“They want to send a message to their neighbours, to the rest of the world, don’t mess with us. But the ultimate aim of Iran, as I understand it, is they want to be recognised as a major power in the Middle East,” said the IAEA chief.

“This is to them the road to get that recognition, to get that power and prestige. It is also an insurance policy against what they have heard in the past about regime change,” he added.

In the wider world, ElBaradei said the biggest threat was the prospect of a nuclear weapon falling into the hands of an extremist group.

The principle of nuclear deterrent would not apply to such groups.

The only safe future, he said, was widespread nuclear disarmament led by the existing nuclear powers which between them have 27,000 warheads.

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