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Israeli strike would ‘ensure’ Iran seeks bomb, warns Blix

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An Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities will only strengthen Tehran’s resolve to develop atomic weapons, Hans Blix, a former head of the U.N. atomic watchdog, warned in a new interview.

“I don’t think you can convince anyone to give up an atomic program through the threat of violence,” Blix said in an interview with the Austrian news weekly Profil to be published on Monday.

“Rather, it will cause them to move even faster on it, in order to defend themselves,” he added, according to a short transcript in German of the interview.

Speculation has been rife that Israel may launch a strike on Iran with President Shimon Peres warning last weekend that an attack was becoming “more and more likely.”

“I think that would be really foolish,” Blix reacted in the Profil interview.

“First of all, nobody knows where all the atomic facilities are located. Secondly, I would be really surprised if Iran did not have prototypes and construction plans that it could fall back on after an attack.”

“Thirdly, if the decision to build a bomb has not yet been taken, a military strike would ensure more than ever that it is.”

Blix, a former U.N. weapons inspector, also defended a new report by the International Atomic Energy Agency, which made its hardest-hitting assessment yet about Iran’s suspected nuclear weapons drive.

Tehran’s envoy to the IAEA Ali Asghar Soltanieh dismissed it this week as “politically motivated”, arguing it contained “false claims” based on information from Iran’s arch-foe the United States and other countries.

“I think the IAEA... did not just swallow what was dangled in front of it,” Blix countered.

“It is reporting honestly what evidence it has and that is making a strong impression,” he said.

On Saturday, Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned that Tehran “will respond with full force to any aggression or even threats in a way that will demolish the aggressors from within.”