Proliferation Press

A webpage devoted to tracking and analyzing current events related to the proliferation of WMD/CBRN.

News Roundup from Der Spiegel: Iranian Facilities Constructed with German Parts? And ElBaradei Describes the “Horror Scenario”

Posted by K.E. White on September 4, 2007

“I am not a purist or a dreamer.”

Mohamed ElBaradei, IAEA head

Germany’s Der Spiegel leads with two proliferation-related pieces today. The first piece delves into how German hardware made it into an Iranian nuclear plant, somehow evading German export controls.

But top billing goes to an interview with IAEA head Mohamed ElBaradei. Below are two nuggets of note: 1) ElBaradei’s dirty bomb “horror scenario” and 2) his continuing support for the US-India nuclear deal.

The US-India nuclear deal, as often discussed on this blog, has raised concerns of a nuclear exception for India—a non-party to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty—and may encourage more countries to seek their own nuclear enrichment capabilities. Not to mention the possible side-effect of egging on China to revitalize their own nuclear arsenal if the face of growing cooperation between regional rival India the United States.

From the Der Spiegel interview with ElBaradei:

ElBaradei: That’s my greatest concern, a horror scenario. I’m not thinking about a nuclear weapon. No terrorist organization has the necessary know-how or potential to acquire these weapons. But a small, so-called dirty bomb containing radioactive material, detonated somewhere in a major city, could cost human lives and set off massive terror with serious economic consequences. Sometimes I think it’s a miracle that it hasn’t happened yet. I pray that it remains that way.

SPIEGEL: India never joined the NPT, and it tested a nuclear weapon in 1998. The IAEA is not even allowed to inspect India’s civilian plants, not to mention its military ones. And yet the United States now wants to supply Delhi with new nuclear technology and fuel. Why didn’t you object to this deal?

ElBaradei: I was even in favor of it. I am not a purist or a dreamer. India became a nuclear power, and it was ostracized internationally for a time as a result. This no longer makes any sense. We would consider it progress if we could monitor India’s civilian nuclear power plants in the future, and we will likely begin negotiations on this issue with Delhi soon, provided the deal isn’t cancelled as a result of domestic political disagreements first.

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