ElBaradei calls Iran nuclear threat 'hyped'
The threat posed by Iran's nuclear program has been exaggerated, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency has said.
The comments by Mohamed ElBaradei, director-general of the UN agency, appear in the online magazine Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.
ElBaradei said the International Atomic Energy Agency, or IAEA, has not seen "concrete evidence" that Tehran has an ongoing nuclear weapons program.
"But, somehow, many people are talking about how Iran's nuclear program is the greatest threat to the world. In many ways, I think the threat has been hyped," ElBaradei said in the interview, released late Tuesday.
"We still have outstanding questions that are relevant to the nature of Tehran's program, and we still need to verify that there aren't undeclared activities taking place inside of the country. But the idea that we'll wake up tomorrow and Iran will have a nuclear weapon is an idea that isn't supported by the facts that we have seen."
Western nations and others worry Iran is moving toward development of nuclear warheads. But Iranian leaders say the country only seeks reactors to produce electricity.
ElBaradei urged countries concerned over Iran to keep the dialogue going, and said for its part, Iran needs to be more transparent with the IAEA and the international community.
In its latest report, the IAEA says it has pressed Iran to clarify the purpose of its uranium enrichment activities and reassure the world that it's not trying to build an atomic weapon. The agency also acknowledges that Iran has been producing nuclear fuel at a slower rate and has allowed UN inspectors broader access to its main nuclear complex, in the southern city of Natanz, and to a reactor in Arak.
On Wednesday, officials from the United States, France, Britain, Russia, China and Germany were to meet at an undisclosed location near Frankfurt to talk about their concerns over Iran's nuclear program.
No official announcements are expected.
On Tuesday, Iran's main nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili, told reporters his country will present new proposals and will open talks "in order to ease common concerns in the international arena."
With files from The Associated Press