UN nuke inspection chief: My job is to prevent war with Iran

Really? I thought his job was to prevent Iran from getting the bomb. From the IAEA website:

The IAEA is the world’s nuclear inspectorate, with more than four decades of verification experience. Inspectors work to verify that safeguarded nuclear material and activities are not used for military purposes. The Agency is additionally responsible for the nuclear file in Iraq as mandated by the UN Security Council.

He’s a reporter, in other words. Yet like so many other reporters, it seems his job description has somehow magically migrated from collecting facts to “making a difference.” How else to explain this bit from his interview today with BBC radio:

Dr ElBaradei said a nuclear-armed Iran would be terrible but the jury was still out as to whether the country even wanted nuclear weapons.

But he said you could not “bomb knowledge”, and he was scathing towards those who still favoured air strikes after the experience of intervention in Iraq.

“I wake every morning and see 100 Iraqis innocent civilians are dying,” he said. “I have no brief other than to make sure we don’t go into another war or that we go crazy into killing each other. You do not want to give additional argument to new crazies who say ‘let’s go and bomb Iran.'”

Laying aside the fact that the “crazies” who think we should bomb Iran are a small and dwindling group (even Bibi Netanyahu prefers a divestment strategy), how can ElBaradei’s nuclear inspections be taken seriously now that he’s made his agenda plain? There have been hints in the past that he’s in the tank for Iran, from a dissembling interview with Spiegel last July to his preemptive apologia for Iranian nuclear weapons a year ago. Just this month, in fact, he used the latest UN report of Iranian noncompliance as an argument for why Iran should be allowed to enrich uranium without fear of sanctions, even though their noncompliance was only made possible by the UN dragging its feet. Western powers were outraged at the suggestion; Tehran actually thanked him for his campaigning on its behalf.

But don’t you worry. They’re ready to come clean now.

Exit question one: If the west can’t trust him to tell the truth about Iran’s program, doesn’t that force them to err on the side of caution, assume the worst, and end up making an air attack more likely? Exit question two: Which Nobel Peace Prize winner will ultimately have done more damage to peace, Arafat or this guy?

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