Mohamed ElBaradei, Director General, IAEA
Mohamed ElBaradei is the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency [IAEA]. The IAEA, an inter-governmental organization under the auspices of the United Nations, has conducted inspections in Iraq with the purpose of uncovering and dismantling nuclear weapons.
ElBaradei was born in 1942 in Egypt. He studied law at the University of Cairo and received a Doctorate in International Law at New York University School of Law. ElBaradei later served at the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs beginning in 1964, and in 1980 he became a senior fellow in charge of the International Law Program at the United Nations Institute for Training and Research. In 1984 ElBaradei began his participation in the IAEA as a senior member of the organization's secretariat.
ElBaradei was appointed director general of the IAEA in 1997, after Hans Blix, the current head of the U.N. inspection effort in Iraq, left. The U.N. established the agency, headquartered in Vienna, Austria, in 1957 to oversee the development of atomic energy for peaceful purposes. Recently, the IAEA's mandate has expanded to include controlling the development of nuclear arms.
In 1991, the U.N. Security Council adopted Resolution 687, which laid out the terms of the military cease-fire in Iraq. The terms included the establishment of a special commission [UNSCOM] to uncover and destroy Iraqi chemical and biological weapons. Resolution 687 also mandated the IAEA to carry out inspections of Iraq's nuclear capabilities, and to remove, destroy, or render harmless any nuclear-weapons-usable materials.
The IAEA was also instructed to create an Ongoing Monitoring and Verification [OMV] Plan in Iraq to prevent the development of a nuclear program.
After permanently establishing itself in Iraq in 1994, the IAEA performed over 1500 OMV inspections, which were mostly done without warning. According to the IAEA, its inspections have given the agency a "technically coherent picture of Iraq's clandestine nuclear program."
The agency withdrew its personnel from Iraq in 1998, out of concern for its safety and due to non-cooperation from Iraqi officials. Since then, the IAEA has been preparing to return and resume its mandated inspections, when requested by the Security Council.
By Emily Birr, Online NewsHour