Not giving up on diplomacy
In a HARDtalk interview on 30 September, Tim Sebastian talks to Mohamed ElBaradei, Director General of the International Atomic Agency, about whether tougher action is needed on Iran over its nuclear activities.
In defiance of the International Atomic Agency (IAEA), Iran has announced it will continue preparations to enrich uranium.
Enriched uranium can be used to make fuel for nuclear power or weapons.
At its September 2004 meeting, the IAEA's Board of Governors demanded that Iran stop all enrichment activities and give a complete history of its nuclear programme by the 25th of November.
The Agency has consistently reported Iran for failing to disclose all necessary information about its programme.
Iran insists its nuclear programme is for peaceful means.
But the United States is not convinced.
Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security, John Bolton, has said the US is concerned that Iran is continuing to pursue a strategic decision to acquire nuclear weapons.
The US has called for the issue to be sent to the United Nations Security Council to consider.
But the Director General of the IAEA, Mohamed ElBaradei, told HARDtalk that diplomacy has not been exhausted yet.
Iran has been given until November to comply with the IAEA's demands.
Dr ElBaradei also told HARDtalk that his agency has been refused access to Pakistani scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan to question him over illicit trafficking of nuclear technology.
Dr Khan, the father of Pakistan's nuclear programme, was pardoned by President Musharraf after confessing to leaking nuclear secrets to Iran, Libya and North Korea.
Below is a partial transcript of the interview.
Tim Sebastian: Do you now know the extent of the nuclear proliferation that took place as a result of Pakistan's scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan, the father of their bomb, as a result of the technology he sold, the equipment that he sold and the materials that he sold around the world. Do you know the extent of it now?
Mohamed ElBaradei: Not fully yet. It's mind-boggling. All I know is there's at least more than 30 companies in 30 countries all over the globe involved in this fantastic, sophisticated illicit trafficking network with Mr A.Q. Khan acting as C.E.O.
TS: But that must be the most worrying thing?
MEB: Of course it is.
TS: 30 countries including many you didn't know before?
MEB: No, not all the companies knew that they were involved in this illicit trafficking mind you. They are, if you are exporting steel if you are exporting magnets, it could have a lot of dual usage, so they didn't know that ultimately this is ending up either in Iran or Libya.
TS: But what about his clients? Abdul Qadeer Khan's clients, the countries that shopped with him?
MEB: We are trying again, us and many other intelligence agencies working with us, to try to identify whether there are other clients. We are not yet there.
TS: Why have you not talked to the man himself?
MEB: Well we have not been allowed by Pakistan to talk to the man.
TS: Allowed. General Musharraf has been on record saying nobody asked us to be allowed to question him.
MEB: No, I think we would be absolutely happy to question him but I think.
TS: have you asked to question him?
MEB: I think we did. I think we did.
TS: But he says you haven't which is pretty extraordinary isn't it?
MEB: I'm not sure, I think we have been asking to talk to him.
TS: You can't tell me categorically the IAEA has asked to interview this man?
MEB: Well think as far as I know our people have asked, but we have been told.
TS: It would be a huge gap if you hadn't, wouldn't it?
MEB: I can tell my Pakistani friend today I would be happy to send a team tomorrow to talk to him if we can. Absolutely. It is a huge gap but..
TS: It's time you asked for it?
MEB: As far as I know Mr A.Q. Khan has not talked to any non-Pakistani until now, which is not frankly the greatest thing. It would be very good for us if we could talk to him directly.
TS: Syria, Saudi Arabia, were they also clients?
MEB: Well, we haven't seen any indications. I mean we have not seen any indications that Syria has been a client, that Saudi Arabia has been a client. In fact we sent a team to visit Syria to discuss with them all their nuclear activities. We haven't seen any indication. We act on any information we get Tim. We haven't gotten any specific..
TS: But it doesn't sound in this case that you were proactive enough?
MEB: Oh, we are absolutely proactive. But I cannot go around to Syria and go all over the place and say have you shopped from Mr .A.Q. Khan? I need some information, IO need a lead. We haven't got a single piece of information indicating any other country has shopped from Mr A.Q. Khan. If we do, I can assure you we will do it overnight.
HARDtalk can be seen on BBC World at 03:30 GMT, 08:30 GMT, 11:30 GMT, 15:30 GMT, 18:30 GMT and 23:30 GMT
It can also be seen on BBC News 24 at 04:30 and 23:30