Watchdog Wins Nobel Peace Prize||
Mohamed ElBaradei and his team of nuclear inspectors, who angered the Bush
administration by disputing its claims that Saddam Hussein's regime had an active
nuclear weapons program, won the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize Friday.
Printer-friendly version: PDF
|| ElBaradei heads
the United Nations' International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
a statement released along with the announcement of the award, the Nobel committee
said, "At a time when disarmament efforts appear deadlocked, when there is
a danger that nuclear arms will spread to both states and to terrorist groups
... IAEA's work is of incalculable importance."
Created as an independent
nuclear organization in 1957, the IAEA works to prevent the spread of nuclear
weapons and encourage peaceful use of nuclear energy.
As the agency's director,
the Egyptian-born ElBaradei has led the struggle with nations, including North
Korea and Iran, on ending their pursuit of nuclear weaponry or verifying their
nuclear programs are for civilian uses only.
The IAEA is composed of representatives of 137 countries, all of whom have
signed the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT). Nearly 200 countries have signed
the treaty since 1970.
The NPT states that only
the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, the United
States, England, France, China and Russia, are allowed to have nuclear warheads.
These countries pledged in 2000 to eventually eliminate all their atomic
When countries sign the NPT, they promise to destroy any current
nuclear weapons program and develop no more weapons. South Africa signed the NPT
and dissolved its nuclear program in 1991.
After the fall of the U.S.S.R.
in 1991, former Soviet republics such as Ukraine and Kazakhstan either destroyed
their nuclear arsenal or transferred the warheads to Russia.
and Pakistan have declined to sign the treaty.
Korea and Iran|
North Korea signed the NPT, but pulled out in December 2002 after IAEA inspectors
found evidence of a nuclear program.
the time, ElBaradei called North Korea a "serious and immediate challenge
to the nuclear nonproliferation regime." Last month, the country agreed to
talk with five other nations about reducing their atomic arsenal.
is still investigating reports of a nuclear weapons program in Iran, which has
long claimed that its nuclear operations were for energy production only.
United States alleges that the Middle Eastern country is developing atomic warheads.
and the United States|
Although the United States was once a supporter of ElBaradei and his leadership
of the IAEA, conflict developed when ElBaradei questioned the U.S. claim that
Iraq held weapons of mass destruction.
He called the start of the Iraq
war "the saddest day of my life."
Last year, the Bush administration
said ElBaradei should step down when his term ended, but other countries disagreed
and he was reinstated.
Despite these differences, Secretary of State Condoleezza
Rice called to congratulate ElBaradei on his accomplishments and released a statement
that said that the United States was "committed to working with the IAEA
to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons technology."
The Nobel committee used a benchmark anniversary of the 1945 atomic bombings
of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to recognize organizations devoted to the end of nuclear
contenders for the prize included rock stars Bono and Bob Geldof, who were nominated
for their efforts to end Third World poverty.
The prize is the work of Alfred
Nobel, famed Swedish inventor and philanthropist, who created the Nobel committee
to award prizes in chemistry, physics, literature, medicine and peace.
winners receive $1.3 million.
Compiled by Brian Wolly for NewsHour Extra