The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director-General Mohamed el Baradei on Monday expressed his opposition to an impulsive war against Iran.
"We need always to remember that the use of force could only be resorted to when ... every other option has been exhausted. I don't think we are at all there," el Baradei told reporters on the sidelines of the ongoing 51st annual regular session of the IAEA General Conference.
His remarks came after French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner on Sunday warned that a war against Iran should be launched should it obtain nuclear weapons.
The UN nuclear watchdog chief, without mentioning Kouchner's comments, said "a lot of hype" had been raised about the Iran case and "we need to be cool and not hype the Iranian issue."
"There are rules on how to use force, and I would hope that everybody would have gotten the lesson after the Iraq situation, where 700,000 innocent civilians have lost their lives on the suspicion that a country has nuclear weapons," he said.
He said the IAEA has found no evidence of "weaponization" from Iranian nuclear enrichment work, although during his speech at the conference he regretted Iran's refusal to fall in line with UN resolutions.
"By November or December, we will be able to know if Iran is acting in good faith or not," he said, suggesting it is time to consider tougher diplomatic actions, if needed, instead of military action.
The chief nuclear inspector also expressed his reservation towards tougher UN sanctions.
"I ask everyone to hold their horses until the process is complete," he said. "If the UN Security Council decides to adopt more sanctions, if they believe it is a way to help resolve the issue, that is their prerogative."
"But I believe sanctions alone will not lead to a durable solution," he said.
During his speech to the conference, el Baradei suggested that if the agency could provide a reliable assurance of the peaceful aim of Iran's nuclear program, it would be in favor of a complete and lasting solution to Iran's nuclear issue.
Iranian Vice President Reza Aqazadeh told the media during the conference that the West always chooses the "path of confrontation" instead of the path of "understanding and amity" towards Iran.
Iran is "determined to continue its (nuclear) path to the highest point of advancement," he said, adding that the country has "no fear of the costs we may have to bear to achieve this."
(Xinhua News Agency September 18, 2007)