Interesting Newsnight interview with Mohamed El Baradei, the head of United Nations organisation charged with stopping the proliferation of nuclear weapons
Do you think the invasion of Iraq empowered your work in Iran or Libya?
MOHAMED EL BARADEI:
I think it empowered my work in some sense. It showed an inspection was working in Iraq, that we managed to disarm Iraq through an inspection. It empowered my work by telling people you should give me more time to complete my job. You need to be patient. These things take time. In that sense, it also empowered my work because people are taking verification very seriously, they know that this could make the difference between war and peace.
So to some extent, they have been intimidated, those regimes or not do you think?
MOHAMED EL BARADEI:
I think maybe a positive message that came out of Iraq, that the international community will not tolerate proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and in that sense it helps me of course with my work.
And on Libya, who of course decided to co-operate after the war in Iraq…..
I think Libya was in the preparatory stage of developing a capability that would move it to acquire a nuclear weapon. It was a matter of time as I have always said. It was not there yet. Most of the know-how was still in boxes. There was still lots of work to be done. Given the capability they acquired from outside, I think it was a matter of time before they could have acquired a nuclear bomb.
So the war in Iraq, according to the top UN official sent a strong message on WMD which he says helps his work. It also broughout a country that had supported terrorism and was a “matter of time” away from gaining a nuclear capability, to the table and into a process of disarmament.
Interesting surely? But I haven’t seen much sign of this in the papers.
Now I wonder if that would have been the case if he said the Iraq war had “totally undermined his work”?