ElBaradei: More Iraqi cooperation needed
TEHRAN, Iran (CNN) -- The head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog said Saturday that he expected more active cooperation from Iraq on weapons inspections.
"The world is getting impatient," Mohamed ElBaradei said. "We would like more active cooperation."
"War is not inevitable," he told a news conference in Iran. "I hope I am proved right."
His comments came a day after Chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix ordered the Iraqi government to begin destroying a missile system which weapons experts say violates the range limit imposed by the Security Council.
In a letter handed Friday to Iraq's U.N. ambassador, Mohammed Aldouri, Blix ordered that the supervised destruction of al-Samoud-2 missiles begin by March 1.
Analysts say the deadline will be key for the Security Council, which is bitterly divided over whether war against Iraq is necessary.
Iraq has not yet directly responded to the Blix missive, but officials have consistently denied they are in violation of U.N. resolutions, which prohibit Iraq from having missiles with a range of more than 150 kilometers (93 miles).
A team of international experts tested the al-Samoud and another Iraqi missile system last month. They determined the former was capable of flying some 30 kilometers further than the 150-kilometer range allowed.
Another missile, the al-Fatah, needed further study, a diplomatic source told CNN.
The chief weapons inspector said the missiles and all their components -- including fuel -- must be destroyed under U.N. supervision.
The launchers, testing equipment, software and documentation associated with the al-Samoud program are also to be destroyed, but not the factories where the missiles were built, as the United States wanted.
Blix was very specific in his letter, telling the Iraqis the destruction would be carried out in a variety of ways, including "explosive demolition, crushing, melting, and other physical and chemical methods."
The order comes as the United States struggles to win international support for a new U.N. resolution backing war with Iraq. Washington is working with Britain to complete work on a new draft resolution by early next week. (Full story)
In an interview with CNN last weekend, Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz indicated the Iraqi regime would oppose an order to destroy the missiles.
"They should not be destroyed because they are practically within the range we are allowed to have," he said.
"It would be quite unfair and unacceptable by any scientific and security standards ... Destruction should be based on a reason, a reason linked with questions of security and peace."
The deputy prime minister said the missiles traveled further than intended, because they were tested without guidance systems.
The U.N. agency in charge of the testing said that 13 out of 40 recent tests of the al-Samoud missile went beyond the permitted range.
-- CNN Correspondent Alessio Vinci and United Nations Producer Ronni Berke contributed to this report.