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IAEA Chief: Iran Could Make Nuke In 6 Months  Ken Garen
 Jun 24, 2008 16:41 PDT 

Jun 24, 2008 9:21 am US/Eastern

IAEA Chief: Iran Could Make Nuke In 6 Months

CBS News Interactive: About Iran

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (CBS) The head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog
agency said Iran could create a nuclear weapon in six months.

IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei spoke on Al-Arabiya television on June 20,
discussing Iran's nuclear program, and the potential for the Middle Eastern
country to produce a nuclear weapon.

"If Iran wants to turn to the production of nuclear weapons, it must leave
the NPT, expel the IAEA inspectors, and then it would need at least,
considering the number of centrifuges and the quantity of uranium Iran
has...It would need at least six months to one year," ElBaradei said.

"Therefore, Iran will not be able to reach the point where we would wake up
one morning to an Iran with a nuclear weapon," he said.

His interviewer then asked "If Iran decides today to expel the IAEA from the
country, it will need six months to produce [nuclear] weapons?"

The IAEA chief answered, "It would need this period to produce a weapon, and
to obtain highly-enriched uranium in sufficient quantities for a single
nuclear weapon."

The ElBaradei interview was conducted one day after reports emerged of a
large-scale military exercise by Israel.

U.S. officials said they thought the Israeli exercises were meant to warn
Iran of Israel's abilities to hit its nuclear sites.

ElBaradei also warned that he will resign as chief of the UN nuclear agency
if Iran is attacked by any country.

"I always think of resigning in the event of a military strike...If military
force is used, I would conclude that there is no mechanism left for me to
defend," he said.

"The reports this week of Israeli military maneuvers, which took place in
early June, provoked the IAEA warning," said CBS News Foreign Affairs Pamela
Falk, who is based at the U.N., "because atomic energy chief ElBaradei has
been pleading with Iran to accept a new package of incentives before another
round of sanctions would be imposed."

"The problem in the region is that, as time passes and the clock is ticking
on Iran's uranium enrichment program, there is a fear that Israel will act,
as it did in Syria last year, to attack at least one of Iran's nuclear
facilities," said Falk, who was in Saudi Arabia earlier this week.

"Israel is evidently the most threatened by the last IAEA report, which
concluded that there are unanswered questions about Iran's ability to
eventually develop nuclear weapons," said Falk, "so it is elBaradei himself
who produced the report that is making Israel nervous."

Meanwhile, Iran is reiterating its decision to continue enriching uranium,
calling Western pressure to suspend the work "illogical."

The statement by a government spokesman came as Europe waits for Iran's
formal answer to an international package of incentives designed to rein in
its nuclear program.

Iran's official IRNA news agency quoted Iranian spokesman Gholam Hossein
Elham on Saturday as saying that his country will respond to the package at
a convenient time.

The package would give Tehran economic incentives, and the chance to develop
alternate light-water reactors, in return for dropping the uranium

( 2008 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved

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