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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

09 June 2005

United States Now Supports Re-election of IAEA Director

Join consensus in vote for Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei

Washington -- The Bush administration has indicated that it will join in consensus with other nations if they endorse the re-election of Mohamed ElBaradei as head of the United Nation’s nuclear watchdog group, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

The announcement came at a June 9 State Department briefing, following a meeting between Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Director-General ElBaradei in which they shared a conviction on the urgency of halting the spread of nuclear enrichment and reprocessing technology.

Rice had told reporters June 8, before the meeting, that she wanted to discuss the director’s vision for IAEA over the next few years and the issue of Iran’s nuclear activities, which have led the United States to suspect that Iran is secretly pursuing nuclear weapons under the guise of a peaceful nuclear-energy program. 

Although it has supported European negotiations with Iran to dismantle its program, the United States has also said Iran should be reported to the U.N. Security Council for violating the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

The Bush administration had previously opposed a third term for ElBaradei, but State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said that although the United States continues to believe that a two-term limit is a good policy, ElBaradei and the IAEA team are working on nuclear issues and Iran’s NPT compliance in a serious way.  “We are going to join the consensus,” he said.

McCormack said the meeting between Rice and ElBaradei focused primarily on strengthening the nuclear nonproliferation regime by achieving full compliance with the NPT and closing existing loopholes making the IAEA’s Additional Protocol on nuclear safeguards the verification standard for compliance.

(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)

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