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22 June 2009

U.N. Atomic Energy Chief Says Iran Wants Bomb Technology

from nytimes.com by Alan Cowell

Mohamed ElBaradei, the chief of the United Nations nuclear watchdog agency, said it was his "gut feeling" that Iran's leaders wanted the technology to build nuclear weapons "to send a message to their neighbors, to the rest of the world: 'Don't mess with us.' "

He spoke in a BBC interview broadcast Tuesday and Wednesday as protesters took to the streets of Tehran and other Iranian cities, demanding that last Friday's disputed election result be overturned and confronting President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad with the leadership's biggest domestic challenge since the Islamic Revolution three decades ago.

Dr. ElBaradei has made similar points in the past, officials at the International Atomic Energy Agency, of which he is director general, said Wednesday, but his latest remarks were less hedged with diplomatic caveats than previously

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