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Last Updated: Thursday, 8 November 2007, 14:55 GMT
Israel minister: Sack ElBaradei
Shaul Mofaz (left) with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert
Israel's leaders accuse Iran of seeking the destruction of their state
A senior Israeli minister has called for the sacking of Mohamed ElBaradei, the head of the UN nuclear watchdog.

Deputy PM Shaul Mofaz said the Egyptian head of the International Atomic Energy Agency had endangered world peace by neglecting Iran's nuclear programme.

His comments come days before the IAEA is to publish its latest Iran report.

Mr ElBaradei has said Iran's nuclear programme is not an immediate threat and if it wanted to build a nuclear bomb it would need years to do so.

The IAEA report will help determine whether the United Nations imposes a third set of sanctions on Tehran.

"The policies followed by ElBaradei endanger world peace. His irresponsible attitude of sticking his head in the sand over Iran's nuclear programme should lead to his impeachment," Mr Mofaz said during a visit to Washington.

'Covert programme'

Israel is a member of the IAEA, but it is not itself a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty which attempts to limit the spread of nuclear weapons.

It is widely believed to currently be the only nuclear-armed state in the conflict riven Middle East region.

Israel and some western governments fear Iran is using its nuclear programme as a covert means to develop a bomb but Iran insists it is aimed solely at producing electricity.

On Wednesday, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Iran had reached the significant milestone of 3,000 centrifuges for uranium enrichment.

Experts say this could be sufficient to produce enough material for a nuclear bomb within one year, if Iran wanted to do so.

Israel says Mr Ahmadinejad's repeated statements that the Jewish state should cease to exist are evidence of a possible Iranian intention to use nuclear weapons against it.



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