“ElBaradei: IAEA lacks sufficient funding, legal authority to combat proliferation”

“ElBaradei: IAEA lacks sufficient funding, legal authority to combat proliferation”
June 11-17, 2009
     Mark Heinrich reports that IAEA head Mohamed ElBaradei scolded the agency’s board of governors for failing to agree on a budget, saying a lack of sufficient funds has led to the “bastardization” of the agency. In a closed-door meeting, ElBaradei said that tight funding has hampered the agency’s work in areas including the prevention of clandestine nuclear programs. The governing body is requesting an 11% budget hike (Reuters).
     In an interview, ElBaradei blames failures in the area of nuclear disarmament for the proliferation of “virtual” nuclear weapons programs that allow states to develop weapons quickly. He also cites Israel’s nuclear program and status outside the NPT for costing the non-proliferation regime its legitimacy in the Middle East, arguing that this prevents states like Iran from implementing the Additional Protocol to provide the IAEA with sufficient legal authority.
     ElBaradei strongly criticizes efforts to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear technology and praises recent changes in US policy. He urges Tehran to respond to the US, apply the Additional Protocol, and freeze expansion of enrichment in exchange for a freeze on sanctions. ElBaradei expresses hope for negotiations but believes they will take time, calling Iran’s nuclear program a “symptom of lack of security…[and] of competition of power and ideology between Iran and the US” (Der Standard).
     In another interview, ElBaradei restates his belief that Iran is seeking a nuclear-weapons capability in order to be recognized as a regional power and deter foreign threats, adding that the contrasting cases of North Korea and Iraq demonstrate the current advantages of obtaining nuclear weapons (BBC). Alan Cowell points out that ElBaradei’s remarks are “more dramatic and less hedged with diplomatic caveats than previously” (New York Times).
Reuters | Der Standard | BBC | New York Times

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