4th Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency
December 1, 1997 – November 30, 2009
|Preceded by||Hans Blix|
|Succeeded by||Yukiya Amano|
|Born||June 17, 1942
|Alma mater||Cairo University
New York University School of Law
Dr. Mohamed Mostafa ElBaradei (Arabic: محمد البرادعي, transliteration: Muḥammad al-Barādaʿī; born June 17, 1942) was the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), an inter-governmental organization under the auspices of the United Nations from December 1997 to November 2009. An Egyptian, ElBaradei prefers the Latin writing of his name to be spelled ElBaradei rather than hyphenated (El-Baradei). ElBaradei and the IAEA were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005.
ElBaradei was born and raised in Cairo, Egypt. He was one of five children of Mostafa ElBaradei, an attorney who headed the Egyptian Bar Association and often found himself at odds with the regime of Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser. ElBaradei's father was also a supporter of democratic rights in Egypt, supporting a free press and a legal system that was independent. ElBaradei followed in his father's footsteps and earned his law degree at the University of Cairo in 1962.
ElBaradei is married to Aida El-Kachef, an early childhood teacher. They have two children. Their daughter, Laila, is a lawyer and lives in London. His son, Mostafa, is a program manager at Microsoft Research.
ElBaradei earned a Bachelor's degree in law from the University of Cairo in 1962, followed by a DEA degree in International Law at the HEI in Geneva and a PhD in International Law at the New York University School of Law in 1974.
His diplomatic career began in 1964 in the Egyptian Ministry of External affairs, where he served in the Permanent Missions of Egypt to the United Nations in New York and in Geneva, in charge of political, legal, and arms control issues. From 1974 to 1978, he was a special assistant to the Egyptian Foreign Minister. In 1980, he became a senior fellow in charge of the International Law Program at the United Nations Institute for Training and Research. From 1981 to 1987, he was also an Adjunct Professor of International Law at New York University School of Law.
In 1984, ElBaradei became a senior staff member of the IAEA Secretariat, serving as the Agency's legal adviser (1984 to 1993) and Assistant Director General for External Relations (1993 to 1997).
ElBaradei began serving as Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency on December 1, 1997, succeeding Hans Blix of Sweden.. He was re-elected for two more four-year terms in 2001 and 2005. His third and last term ended in November 2009. Elbaradei's tenure has been marked by high profile non-proliferation issues including the inspections in Iraq preceding the March 2003 invasion and tensions over the nuclear program of Iran.
After being appointed by the General Conference in 1997, Elbaradei said in his speech that: “for international organizations to enjoy the confidence and support of their members, they have to be responsive to their needs; show concrete achievements; conduct their activities in a cost-effective manner; and respect a process of equitable representation, transparency, and open dialogue.”
Just a couple of months before Dr. Elbaradei took office, the Model Additional Protocol was adopted, creating a new environment for IAEA verification by giving it greater authority to look for undeclared nuclear activities. When in office, Elbaradei launched a programme to establish “integrated safeguards” combining the IAEA’s comprehensive safeguards agreements with the newly adopted Additional Protocol. In his statement to the General Conference in 1998, he called upon all states to conclude the Additional Protocol saying: “One of the main purposes of the strengthened safeguards system can be better achieved with global adherence. I would therefore urge all States with outstanding safeguards agreements to conclude them and I would also urge all States to accelerate their consideration of the Model Additional Protocol and enter into consultations with the Agency at the earliest possible opportunity. We should work together to ensure that by the year 2000 all States have concluded outstanding safeguards agreements and also the Additional Protocol”. Elbaradei repeated this call through his years as the Director General of the IAEA. In November 2009, 93 countries had Additional Protocols in force.
Elbaradei’s first term ended in November 2001, just two months after the terrorist attacks of 9/11. These attacks made clear that more needed to be done to protect nuclear material and installations against theft or a terrorist attack. As a consequence, ElBaradei established a nuclear security programme to combat the risk of nuclear terrorism by assisting States in strengthening the physical protection of their nuclear and radioactive material and installations. The Nuclear Security Fund.
One of the major issues during ElBaradei’s second term as the Director General of the IAEA was the Agency’s inspections in Iraq. ElBaradei disputed the US rationale for the 2003 invasion of Iraq from the time of the 2002 Iraq disarmament crisis, when he, along with Hans Blix, led a team of UN weapons inspectors in Iraq. ElBaradei told the UN Security Council in March 2003 that documents purporting to show that Iraq had tried to acquire uranium from Niger were not authentic.
ElBaradei described the U.S. invasion of Iraq as "a glaring example of how, in many cases, the use of force exacerbates the problem rather than solving it." ElBaradei further said "we learned from Iraq that an inspection takes time, that we should be patient, that an inspection can, in fact, work," and that he had "been validated" in concluding that Saddam Hussein had not revived his nuclear weapons program.
In a 2004 op-ed piece on the dangers of nuclear proliferation, in the New York Times (February 12, 2004), ElBaradei stated "We must abandon the unworkable notion that it is morally reprehensible for some countries to pursue weapons of mass destruction, yet morally acceptable for others to rely on them for security - and indeed to continue to refine their capacities and postulate plans for their use." He went on to say "If the world does not change course, we risk self-destruction."
The United States initially voiced opposition to his election to a third four-year term in 2005. In a May 2005 interview with the staff of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Lawrence Wilkerson, the chief of staff to former Secretary of State Colin Powell, charged former Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security John Bolton with an underhanded campaign to unseat ElBaradei. “Mr. Bolton overstepped his bounds in his moves and gyrations to try to keep [ElBaradei] from being reappointed as [IAEA] head,” Wilkerson said. The Washington Post reported in December 2004 that the Bush administration had intercepted dozens of ElBaradei’s phone calls with Iranian diplomats and was scrutinizing them for evidence they could use to force him out. IAEA spokesman Mark Gwozdecky said the agency worked on "the assumption that one or more entities may be listening to our conversations". "It's not how we would prefer to work, but it is the reality. At the end of the day, we have nothing to hide," he said. Iran responded to the Washington Post reports by accusing the United States of violating international law in intercepting the communications.
The United States was the only country to oppose ElBaradei's reappointment and eventually failed to win enough support from other countries to oust ElBaradei. On 9 June 2005, after a meeting between US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and ElBaradei, the United States dropped its objections. Among countries that supported Elbaradei was China, Russia, Germany and France. China praised his leadership and objectivity. and supported him for doing "substantial fruitful work, which has maintained the agency's role and credit in international non-proliferation and promoted the development of peaceful use of nuclear energy. His work has been universally recognized in the international community. China appreciates Mr. El Baradei's work and supports his reelection as the agency's director-general." France, Germany, and some developing countries, have made clear their support for ElBaeadei as well. Russia issued a strong statement in favor of re-electing him as soon as possible.
ElBaradei was unanimously re-appointed by the IAEA Board on 13 June 2005.
In 2008, ElBaradei said he would not be seeking a fourth term as director general. ElBaradei said he was "not available for a further term" in office in an IAEA document. In its first five rounds of voting, the IAEA Board of Governors split on a decision of who should next fill the role of Director General. ElBaradei said, "I just hope that the agency has a candidate acceptable to all...north, south, east, west because that is what is needed." After several rounds of voting, on 3rd of July 2009, Mr. Yukiya Amano, Japanese Ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency, was elected as the next IAEA Director General.
In his last speech to the IAEA Board of Governors in June 2009, ElBaradei stated that “the Agency has been able to continue to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material in Iran." He regreted, however, that "Iran has not implemented any of the measures called for by the Security Council and by the Agency's Board of Governors”. ElBaradei also said he was encouraged “by the new initiative of the United States to engage the Islamic Republic of Iran in direct dialogue, without preconditions and on the basis of mutual respect” and expressed hope “that Iran will respond to the US initiative with an equal gesture of goodwill and trust-building.” This gesture “could include implementing again the Agency's design information requirements and applying the provisions of the additional protocol.”
The International Atomic Energy Agency Board of Governors and UN Security Council have commended the ElBaradei for "professional and impartial efforts" to resolve all outstanding issues with Iran. The Non-Aligned Movement has also reiterated "its full confidence in the impartiality and professionalism of the Secretariat of the IAEA."
In an interview with CNN in May 2007, Dr ElBaradei gave one of his sternest warnings against using military action against Iran, a state signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Referring to "the extreme people who have extreme views" he said, "you do not want to give additional argument to some of the 'new crazies' who want to say let us go and bomb Iran."
New York Times columnist Roger Cohen interviewed ElBaradei in April 2009. ElBaradei is quoted as saying, “Israel would be utterly crazy to attack Iran." He considers an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities would "turn the region into a ball of fire and put Iran on a crash course for nuclear weapons with the support of the whole Muslim world.” ElBaradei believes the nuclear non-proliferation regime has "lost its legitimacy in the eyes of Arab public opinion because of the perceived double-standard" in relation to Israel's nuclear weapons program.
In an interview with French newspaper Le Monde, ElBaradei said "I want to get people away from the idea that Iran will be a threat from tomorrow, and that we are faced right now with the issue of whether Iran should be bombed or allowed to have the bomb. We are not at all in that situation. Iraq is a glaring example of how, in many cases, the use of force exacerbates the problem rather than solving it."
On October 4, 2009, the Xinhua News Agency reported that "At a joint press conference with Iran's Atomic Energy Organization chief Ali Akbar Salehi in Tehran, ElBaradei brought Israel under spotlight and said that the Tel Aviv regime has refused to allow inspections into its nuclear installations for 30 years, the report said.
Former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has indirectly criticized ElBaradei for, in her perception, "muddying the message" to Iran and has also said "the IAEA is not in the business of diplomacy. The IAEA is a technical agency that has a board of governors of which the United States is a member." In response to Rice's comments, a senior official from the agency said "the IAEA is only doing now what the U.N. Security Council asked us to do." ElBaradei notes that Rice said "from the U.S. perspective, I served with distinction", and Rice has further said she appreciated his "stewardship of the nonproliferation regime".
Former Prime Minister and current President of Israel Shimon Peres has said, "there are holes in the (IAEA) apparatus for deterring a culture of nuclear weapons, as in the case with Iran, but the agency certainly has done much in the prevention of nuclear weapons from reaching dangerous hands." In a different reaction, former Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz has called for ElBaradei to be impeached.
In September 2007, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, has warned the potential dangers of a nuclear Iran. He stated: "We have to prepare for the worst, and the worst is war." In response to Kouchner, ElBaredei characterized talk of attacking Iran as "hype", and dismissed the notion of a possible attack on Iran. He referred to the war in Iraq, where "70,000 innocent civilians have lost their lives on the suspicion that a country has nuclear weapons." He further added "I do not believe at this stage that we are facing a clear and present danger that requires we go beyond diplomacy."
Iran points out that ElBaradei has highlighted the lack of evidence to prove Iran is after a nuclear bomb and that ElBaradei says Iran is meeting its obligations to allow inspectors into its nuclear sites. Iran further says that the IAEA chief has consistently verified non-diversion in Iran's nuclear program and has said that his investigations show no military aspect in Iran's program. According to the Tehran Times political desk, ElBaradei has reaffirmed in December 2008 that Iran's nuclear activities are "legal".
Dr. Kaveh L Afrasiabi, author of After Khomeini: New Directions in Iran's Foreign Policy, said ElBaradei has been downplaying Iran's cooperation for some time, raising the ire of Tehran. Afrasiabi further says ElBaradei has given himself "the license to speculate on the timeline when Iran could convert its peaceful nuclear work into weaponization" which is irresponsible and inconsistent with his statements on other states.
The Non-Aligned Movement has also reiterated "its full confidence in the impartiality and professionalism of the Secretariat of the IAEA." "NAM recognizes the IAEA as the sole competent authority for verification and expresses its full confidence in the professionalism and impartiality of the IAEA. In this regard, NAM strongly believes that all issues on safeguards and verification, including those of Iran, should be resolved only by the agency, within its framework, and be based on technical and legal grounds," the Non-Alignment movement said in another statement.
In an op-ed he wrote for The Economist in 2003, Mohamed Elbaradei outlined his idea for the future of the nuclear fuel cycle. His suggestion was to “limit the processing of weapon-usable material in civilian nuclear programmes, as well as the production of new material by agreeing to restrict these operations exclusively to facilities under multinational control.” Also, “nuclear-energy systems should be deployed that, by design, avoid the use of materials that may be applied directly to making nuclear weapons”. He concluded by saying that “considerable advantages would be gained from international co-operation in these stages of the nuclear fuel cycle. These initiatives would not simply add more non-proliferation controls, to limit access to weapon-usable nuclear material; they would also provide access to the benefits of nuclear technology for more people in more countries.”
Non-nuclear weapon states have been reluctant to embrace these proposals because of a perception that the commercial or strategic interests of nuclear weapon states motivated the proposals, a perception that the proposals produce a dependency on a limited number of nuclear fuel suppliers, and a concern that the proposal restricts their unalienable right to nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.
Mohamed ElBaradei’s work does not only concentrate on nuclear verification. Another very important aspect is development through nuclear technology. In 2004, ElBaradei initiated a comprehensive global initiative to fight cancer known as the Programme of Action for Cancer Therapy (PACT). In one of his statements Elbaradei said: “A silent crisis in cancer treatment persists in developing countries and is intensifying every year. At least 50 to 60 per cent of cancer victims can benefit from radiotherapy, but most developing countries do not have enough radiotherapy machines or sufficient numbers of specialized doctors and other health professionals.” In the first year of operation, PACT undertook to build cancer treatment capacity in seven member states, using the IAEA's share of the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize award.
In his speech to the 2008 General Conference, ElBaradei said that “development activities remain central to our work. Our resources have long been insufficient to keep pace with requests for support, and we have increasingly made use of partnerships with other organizations, regional collaborations and country to country support. I again emphasise that technical cooperation is not a bargaining chip, part of a political 'balance' between the development and safeguards activities of the Agency.”
ElBaradei did not make any clear statements regarding his intentions to run for the office, however he has demanded that certain conditions have to be met to ensure fair elections accompanied by changes to the constitution that will allow more freedom for independent candidates before he would actually consider running for presidency. Several opposition groups and parties have endorsed him, considering him a neutral figure who could transition the country to greater democracy.
On 24th February 2010, ElBaradei met with several opposition leaders and notable intellects at his home in Cairo. The meeting was concluded with an announcement for the formation of a new non-party-political movement called "National Association for Change". The movement aims for general reforms in the political scene and mainly burke the Constitutional article#76 which places restrictions on true free presidential elections especially when it comes to independent candidates. Worth mentioning is that the banned political group the Muslim Brotherhood were represented by one of their key figures who attended the meeting however their stand in accepting a non-member of their group as a candidate is yet unclear. It is also unknown whether Amr Moussa the head of the Arab League who met with Elbaradei a day eariler will be part of the new movement.
During his tenure as director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Dr. ElBaradei has been recognized with many awards for his efforts to ensure that nuclear energy is used for peaceful purposes.
On October 7, 2005, ElBaradei and the IAEA itself were announced as joint recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize for their "efforts to prevent nuclear energy from being used for military purposes and to ensure that nuclear energy, for peaceful purposes, is used in the safest possible way". ElBaradei donated all his winnings to building orphanages in his home city of Cairo. The IAEA's winnings are being spent on training scientists from developing countries to use nuclear techniques in combating cancer and malnutrition. ElBaradei is the fourth ethnic Egyptian to receive the Nobel Prize, following Ahmed Zewail (1999 in Chemistry), Anwar Sadat (1978 in Peace) and Naguib Mahfouz (1988 in Literature).
In his Nobel Speech, ElBaradei said that the changing landscape of nuclear non-proliferation and disarmanent may be defined by the emergence of an extensive black market in nuclear material and equipment, the proliferation of nuclear weapons and sensitive nuclear technology, and the stagnation in nuclear disarmament. To combat proliferation, ElBaradei has suggested keeping nuclear and radiological material out of the hands of extremist groups, tightening control over the operations for producing the nuclear material that could be used in weapons, and accelerating disarmanent efforts. Dr. ElBaradei also stated that only 1% of the money spent on developing new weapons would be enough to feed the entire world and that, if we hope to escape self-destruction, then nuclear weapons should have no place in our collective conscience, and no role in our security. Nobel Lecture.
United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said he was delighted that the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize had been awarded to the UN nuclear watchdog and its head ElBaradei. "The secretary-general congratulates him and the entire staff of the agency, past and present, on their contributions to global peace," a spokesman for Annan said.
ElBaradei has received many awards for his work as director of the International Atomic Energy Agency. Some of these awards include:
ElBaradei has also received honorary doctoral degrees from: New York University; the University of Maryland; the American University in Cairo; the Free Mediterranean University (LUM) in Bari, Italy; Soka University of Japan; Tsinghua University of Beijing; the Polytechnic University of Bucharest; the Universidad Politecnica de Madrid; Konkuk University in Seoul; the University of Florence; the University of Buenos Aires; the National University of Cuyo in Argentina; Amherst College and Cairo University.
ElBaradei, who describes himself as having a Muslim background, sometimes cites his favorite Christian prayer when speaking of his role on the world stage.
|Director General of the IAEA
December 1, 1997 - November 30, 2009
|Awards and achievements|
Wangari Muta Maathai
|Nobel Peace Prize Laureate
with International Atomic Energy Agency
Mohamed ElBaradei [Arabic: محمدالبرادعئ] (born 17 June 1942) is an Egyptian diplomat, and the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency. ElBaradei and the IAEA were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize of 2005.
Mohamed ElBaradei (Arabic: محمد البرادعي) (born June 17, 1942, Egypt) most known as the former Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) (1997 - 2009). The IAEA is an inter-governmental organization related to the United Nations. It is based in Vienna and tries to bring about the peaceful use of nuclear energy. ElBaradei and the IAEA were both awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005. They got the prize for their efforts in Iraq, finding that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
ElBaradei has a doctorate in International law.