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‘Iran cannot be scared out of having nukes’ - Ex-IAEA chief

Published time: December 20, 2011 11:32
Edited time: December 20, 2011 17:54

Iranian students form human chain around UCF to show their support for Iran's nuclear program in Isfahan, 450 km south of Tehran (Reuters / Morteza Nikoubazl)

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Nothing can stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons, but the country does not have them yet, and has probably stopped trying to make them, Hans Blix, former Head of International Atomic Energy Agency (1981 - 1997), told RT.

Threats by hawks in Israel and the US will not succeed in scaring the Iranians from their present course, Blix argued.

“I am somehow doubtful that one can scare a country away from going for nuclear weapons. Carrots are better for persuading them,” he said.

The former chief of the UN nuclear watchdog does not believe Iran actually has a nuclear weapon and the IAEA’s recent report on the country’s nuclear program also does not state definitely that Tehran is currently pursuing nuclear arms.

“They might stop short of a weapon,” he conjectured.

“Iran does not have a track record of aggression,” Hans Blix recalled. He said that even the aggressive rhetoric used by the Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, when he verbally wiped Israel off the world map, was not said with an Israeli audience in mind.

“Most people think he was really talking to the Arab streets. He wanted to destabilize Arab states that supported the United States,” Blix said.

“I do not see an immediate threat from Iran – but I can understand that the Israelis are nervous.”

­Attack on Iran means pan-Middle East war

Blix said he hoped that Israel was fully aware of the dangers of using nuclear weapons for real and would not dare to attack Iran with or without them – because Tehran would retaliate immediately.

“Any kind of attack risks a total confrontation in the Middle East. The Iranian mullahs are not sitting to tittle-tattle, they will have a counter attack and maybe they will drag the US into the war. It is a terrible fire they are playing with,” Blix told RT.

Hans Blix, who was also Chief of the UN Inspections Commission on WMD in Iraq (2000 – 2003), agreed there are ominous similarities between the search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and Iran’s nuclear program.

“In the case of Iraq, they talked about weapons that in fact did not exist. Today they are talking about Iranian intentions [to have nuclear weapons] that may or may not exist,” said the former weapons inspector.

At the same time, no one denies that Iran has a large number of nuclear facilities.

­Iran should be treated as equal

The former IAEA head stressed that the international community should keep channels of communication open in order to persuade Tehran it will not need either nuclear weapons, or enrichment capabilities. But the colonial upper-hand tone that the West usually takes when addressing Iran should be forgotten altogether, because Iran should be treated as an important and equal partner.

“They are proud people as many other nations are,” Blix said.

The former IAEA chief said that plans for a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East to be announced at next year’s conference in Helsinki will only be executable if both Iran and Israel agree to make concessions in this matter.

“Israel does not admit it has nuclear weapons. They say that they will not be the first to introduce nuclear weapons in the Middle East,” Blix said, expressing the opinion that, for everybody’s sake, it would be better that neither Israel nor Iran had nuclear weapons or an associated industry.

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