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8/22/06

Hans Blix calls for talks with Iran over nuclear program

London, Aug 22, IRNA-Former director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Hans Blix says that he is certain Iran is not making a nuclear weapon and believes that the west should restart talks to resolve its desire to enrich uranium.

Iran is "certainly not now" developing any bomb and even the CIA believe that it might take up to 2010 or 2112 to have any capacity, Blix said Tuesday.

"So there is time to talk and that is an important point," he said in an interview with Today, BBC Radio Four's flagship current affairs program. "I think the west should continue talking with Iran," he said.

Blix, who now chairs the Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission, made his call ahead of Iran's expected formal response to a package of incentives being offered by the permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany.

"There is something curious about the offer they made in the spring to come to talks, including with the US which was seen as a big concession, but only if Iran first suspends enrichment," he said.

The former IAEA director general, who was also the UN's chief arms inspector ahead of the Iraq war, further criticized the Security Council for making the same demand to first suspend in its resolution on July 31.

"They are asking the Iranians really to give up their chief leverage and what should be the chief subject of the negotiations" about resolving the dispute, he said.

During his interview, Blix also believed that it was "not very wise" of both the US and Britain not to rule out military adventurism against Iran.

"There has been too much whipping or threats of whipping all the times," he said, adding that the issue should be about Iran being taken "seriously." The former chief arms inspector said that he was "doubtful" if Iran felt threatened by its neighbors for any need to develop a nuclear deterrent.

"But Iran may be worried about the US," he said. Washington should not up its threats against the Iranians as he believed it may have the opposite effect and "incite them."

Asked whether he thought other countries, including Brazil and Japan, who already have uranium enrichment facilities, posed any threat to develop a nuclear weapons, Blix suggested that it depended on "political will."

"Any country with a big industrial capacity in technology could perhaps, but depends if they have the political will," he said, but he added that he did not think either Brazil or Japan had any intentions at the moment.

"What we do not know is if the US continues to develop capacity and there is no disbarment then the atmosphere may change," the former IAEA chief warned as a possibility.

... Payvand News - 8/22/06 ... --



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