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Former UN weapons inspector: Iran won't be 2nd Iraq
26/1/2007 10:11

Former UN chief weapons inspector Hans Blix ruled out yesterday that the possibility of a US military action against Iran, saying the Iraq scenario won't recur in the case of Iran because of the US public's anti-war sentiment.

Responding to a question by Egypt's official MENA news agency at a press conference he held at the Diplomatic Club here on Thursday, Blix said the public opinion in the United States is totally against military interference after the Iraqi "quagmire experience."

Blix, who was also the former Swedish foreign minister, had led the UN inspectors searching for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq before the US-led invasion in 2003.

However, the former inspector defended Iran's rights to develop nuclear capacity for peaceful usage, but warned of a nuclear race in the Middle East region.

"It's not illegal what they are doing unless you could prove that there is intention to go for weapons. But it's not illegal to plan to go for fuel, " Blix said.

The UN Security Council has passed a resolution imposing sanctions on Iran for its defiance over its nuclear issue. The United States has urged Iran to freeze its uranium enrichment activities for possible incentives from the US-led West. However, Iran has said its nuclear programs are for civilian purposes only.

US officials have refused to rule out any options against Iran, but said military action would be a last resort.

Blix, arrived in Cairo last Sunday on a four-day visit to Egypt, also expressed support for the aims of Egypt and Jordan to develop their own peaceful nuclear programs, adding that it would take the two nations over 10 years to start nuclear programs.

Egypt started very limited nuclear technological research in1957, but its nuclear program was frozen in 1986 in the wake of the accident at Soviet Union's Chernobyl nuclear plant.

On Sept. 21 last year, Mubarak declared that his country would continue its scientific research to develop peaceful nuclear technology.

In 1968, Egypt signed the international nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty and officially supports the elimination of nuclear weapons in the Middle East region.