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ElBaradei Says Attack on Iran Would be Catastrophic


The head of the U.N. nuclear agency says an attack on Iran because of its nuclear program would be counterproductive and catastrophic.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland Thursday, Mohamed ElBaradei said he hopes the talk about a possible military strike will stop.

He said the threat of force will only encourage Tehran to pursue a nuclear weapons program. He urged a return to negotiations.

The United States and Israel have said the use of force is an option in dealing with Iran's nuclear program. Israel has said a nuclear Iran is a threat to the Jewish state.

The Bush administration says it will negotiate with Iran only if Tehran first suspends uranium enrichment.

Western powers believe Iran is developing nuclear technology for atomic weapons, a charge Tehran denies.

In December, the U.N. Security Council imposed economic sanctions on Iran because of its refusal to suspend the enrichment program. But senior Iranian officials have said that, despite the sanctions, they will continue to develop nuclear technology for peaceful uses.

Enriched uranium can fuel nuclear power plants, but more highly enriched uranium can be used also for nuclear weapons.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.