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Last Updated: Friday, 29 August, 2003, 09:06 GMT 10:06 UK
Mohamed ElBaradei
Mohamed ElBaradei
Dr ElBaradei would like North Korea to be more transparent.

In an exclusive television interview for BBC HARDtalk on 29 August 2003, Tim Sebastian asked Dr Mohamed ElBaradei, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which nuclear power we should fear more, North Korea or Iran?

The UN's nuclear watchdog chief also discussed how much of a threat he thought Iraq really was.

While six nations, including the US and South Korea, meet in Beijing to discuss fears over North Korea's nuclear programme, Dr ElBaradei claimed that North Korean leader Kim Jong Il's hardline regime is using its nuclear programme as "blackmail".

He also complained that he hasn't been given enough authority - a situation about which he has been "kicking and screaming".


Dr ElBaradei is also concerned about Iran following fresh reports that the country has embarked on a uranium enrichment programme.

I don't think they (North Korea) can be trusted
Mohamed ElBaradei

"They have been saying this is the result of importing equipment from abroad...The jury is still out...The fact that they have been working on a programme for over 20 years...the fact that they have not been transparent..We need to get to the bottom of this," said Dr ElBaradei.

Dr ElBaradei wants Iran to sign up to the Additional Protocol of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty - the NPT - which would force the country to submit to IAEA's snap inspections: "If you have nothing to hide, there is no reason not to be transparent," he said.

He admits that they should have known about the development of new nuclear facilities at Natanz.


With respect to Iraq, he said that he needs more time to complete his work there: "There could be [a nuclear weapons programme.] I would be surprised if there were... I did not certify that Iraq was clean when I left Iraq."

I think the way we treat North Korea will be very important for the future wannabes
Mohamed ElBaradei

He warns finally that North Korea is an important test case:

"It is pretty dangerous. The fact that they are using it to intimidate, to blackmail. I think it sends a very bad signal. I think the way we treat North Korea will be very important for the future wannabes."

HARDtalk can be seen on BBC World at 03:30 GMT, 08:30 GMT, 11:30 GMT, 15:30 GMT, 18:30 GMT and 22:30 GMT.

It can also be seen on BBC News 24 at 03:30 and 23:30


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