Wednesday, January 18, 2006


According to Mohammed El-Baradei, the head of the UN nuclear inspection team, Iran has until March 6th to start cooperating, or he will officially declare that investigation has reached a dead end:

As Britain, France and Germany prepared the ground to report Iran to the United Nations, the usually cautious Mohammed ElBaradei, the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, spoke with unprecedented bluntness about his frustration with Iran.

"We are coming to the litmus test in the next few weeks," he said in an interview in Newsweek magazine.

"Diplomacy has to be backed by pressure and, in extreme cases, by force," he said. "We have rules. We have to do everything possible to uphold the rules through conviction. If not, then you impose them. Of course, this has to be the last resort, but sometimes you have to do it."

He gave Iran seven weeks to answer the IAEA's outstanding questions - including intelligence reports of secret work on nuclear warheads.

If Iran did not comply by March 6, Mr ElBaradei said he would formally declare that his investigation had reached a dead end.

And then what?