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If you like Mohamed ElBaradei's's story, you might also like:
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Related Links:
International Atomic Energy Agency

ElBaradei Addresses UN on Iraq

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Mohamed ElBaradei
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Mohamed ElBaradei Interview (page: 7 / 7)

Nobel Prize for Peace

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Any country who feels that they are threatened, or if they are craving power or influence, they would look at the guys who are playing in the major league, and the guys in the major league are saying, "We would like to keep our nuclear weapons because our nuclear weapons are very important for our security."

You cannot say that and ask everybody else to give up nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction. I used once the metaphor that you cannot continue to be a heavy smoker and dangle a cigarette from your mouth and tell your kids not to smoke. It doesn't work.

You used the baseball analogy. The idea of getting into the major league is terribly seductive. As I hear you saying it, the only way to change that vision is for the people in the major leagues to say, "These bats and gloves aren't really worth anything to us."

Mohamed ElBaradei: Correct. Absolutely. These bats and gloves does not mean much to us. We do not want to need them in the future. We need, all of us, to be part of one league, where the rules of the game are the same for everybody.

What about Iran right now?

Mohamed ElBaradei: Iran is a very complicated issue. Iran is really about security in the Middle East.

The nuclear issue is the tip of the iceberg in Iran. It masked a lot of grievances from both sides, ranging from the hostage-taking in 1979 to the overthrow of the nationally elected government in Iran in the '50s, the Mossadeq government. So there's a lot of grievances that span over five, six decades, and the only way to resolve these issues of grievances, insecurities is just for all the parties to sit and talk together. I am delighted that now the U.S. have decided to go and talk to the Iranians directly, face to face, put all the issues on the table. That is the only way. I have been saying that for a couple of years. There is no other solution. There is no military solution, and there is no solution that is enduring which is not a negotiated solution. Talking to each other does not mean weaknesses. Talking to each other does not mean that you legitimize or de-legitimize a particular regime or you accept the records of human rights, none of that. Talking to each other means that we have differences, and we can only settle our differences through talking face to face.

So I am hopeful. I hope that dialogue will flourish, and I will continue to do my very best to make sure that I continue in my little way to undergird that process and make sure that it comes to fruition.

Do you think sanctions would be effective?

Mohamed ElBaradei: I don't believe in sanctions. You can go through escalation. You can go through using sanctions, using pressure. It's a process when both parties will hurt each other. We will go into a period of mutual hurting.

Sanctions didn't work in the past, will not work in the future. In fact, it puts the hard-liners in both camps in the driver's seat when you apply pressure. It's the hard-liners who become popular. When you start dialogue, when you start to exchange ideas, goods, when people start to travel, when the Iranian people will continue to enjoy a new fleet of Boeing aircraft, when they start getting their new computer software, I think that is when you empower the silent majority in every country who are eager to have a decent life as part of the human community.

So the more we -- the more we de-emphasize the muscle and the punching, and the more we emphasize the shared humanity, the incentives, the better off we are.

In these interviews we often discuss the concept of the American Dream. Having studied here, and having such a global vision, I wonder if you could tell us your understanding of the American Dream. Do those words mean something to you?

Mohamed ElBaradei: I have very much a concept of an American Dream. An American Dream meaning to be free, to be able to achieve what you want to do, to have an environment within which you can excel. I have always been an admirer of the American Dream. We grew up admiring the freedom you have in the U.S., the equality, the egalitarian system you have in the U.S. And I hope, with all the restrictions that we have seen after 9/11 that we will someday go back where the U.S. American Dream will be the way I saw it when I was growing up here in the '60s. It's a model that might not be replicated 100 percent everywhere else, but the basic element of the American dream is the future for humanity.

[ Key to Success ] The American Dream

Thank you.

Thank you very much.

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This page last revised on Sep 19, 2010 13:52 EDT
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