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France strongly rejects El Baradei’s claims on CNN about Iran


Agence France Presse’s Abu Dhabi bureau reports this morning:

French Defence Minister Herve Morin on Monday dismissed comments by the head of the UN atomic watchdog that there was no evidence Iran is building nuclear weapons, saying Paris has evidence to the contrary.

“Our information, matching those of other countries, gives us the opposite feeling,” Morin told a news conference in Abu Dhabi at the end of a short visit to the United Arab Emirates.

Mohamed El Baradei, head of the UN atomic watchdog the International Atomic Energy Agency, said in an interview with CNN on Sunday that he had no evidence that Iran is building nuclear weapons and accused US leaders of adding “fuel to the fire” with their bellicose rhetoric.

El Baradei made the remarks to Wolf Blitzer on CNN’s “Late Edition” yesterday. Blitzer took what El Baradei said at face value and failed to challenge him.

Separately this morning, an Israeli government minister blasted El Baradei for his CNN interview. “Mohamed El Baradei is, simply, instead of fighting against Iran’s nuclear program, looking for all the reasons to whitewash and justify it,” Strategic Affairs Minister Avigdor Lieberman told Israel radio.

Lieberman said El Baradei had now started covering up for the Iranian regime “for ideological reasons, for a commitment to the Islamic world.”

“Why does Iran need ballistic missiles?” Lieberman asked. “The proof El Baradei is looking for is probably that nuclear mushroom everyone will be able to see in the sky. Before that, no proof would satisfy him.”

He went on to accuse the IAEA chief of obstructing US-led efforts to pass a new round of sanctions against Iran in the UN Security Council. There is no doubt that the role El Baradei and the IAEA are playing today is a very, very negative role in the process that is currently under way in the Security Council,” Lieberman said.


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