IAEA warns against attacks on states with suspected nuclear plants

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has warned against threats of military action against states with suspected nuclear plants, charging that the threats are undermining the international Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), a German news magazine reported Saturday, reported dpa.

IAEA Director General Mohammed ElBaradei referred to the bombing of the al-Kibar complex in Syria's north-eastern desert by Israeli aircraft in September last year and to Israeli warnings on Iran's nuclear facilities, in an interview with the German news magazine Der Spiegel.

"One undermines the international treaty framework with unilateral military action," ElBaradei said, warning of a "historic change" taking place.

In an interview released Friday, Israeli Transport Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz said he believed Israel would have no choice but to attack Iran in order to prevent it from developing weapons of mass destruction.

"If Iran continues its programme to develop nuclear weapons, we will attack it," Mofaz, a former top general, said in an interview in the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper to be published Sunday.

ElBaradei told Der Spiegel he saw a rising threat to world peace from nuclear arms and the increasing readiness to bomb nuclear plants.

He also attacked Iran's leadership. "Iran's willingness to cooperate leaves a lot to be desired. We have urgent questions," he said of IAEA inspections of Iran's nuclear sites.

Iran's leaders were sending out a message that they could "build a bomb in a relatively short time," ElBaradei said.

And he called for "absolute transparency" from Syria. An IAEA delegation is to visit the country June 22-24 with the aim of visiting the bombed al-Kibar complex and other sites. dpa rpm ms

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