Senior Israeli officials said Tuesday night that the International Atomic Energy Agency report
stating that Iran
has been working on developing a nuclear weapon design proves that the former UN nuclear watchdog chairman "was an Iranian agent".
On Wednesday, ElBaradei rejected Israel's accusations and called them "false." His response was published on the website of the Egyptian daily al-Youm al-Saba'a.
The former IAEA chairman, Mohamed ElBaradei,
is an Egyptian diplomat who even won the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize.
For years he defended the Iranian nuclear program, claiming that it was peaceful, thus allowing the Iranians to continue their activity with the nuclear watchdog's seal of approval.
According to one of the state officials, the new report published Tuesday proves "just how much he was working for the Iranians.
"He simply rescued Iran and was constantly busy covering up for them, causing serious damage by allowing the Iranians to fool the entire world and play for time. History may judge him as the person who helped Iran obtain a nuclear weapon.
"The things exposed now are not new. These are old things which were hidden and not published," the official added. "Now it turns out that ElBaradei led an active policy of concealment and disregard. This is very serious. He is a despicable person."
"ElBaradei didn't just mess us up, he messed up the entire sane world," added Uzi Eilam, former head of Israel's
Atomic Energy Agency. "He was dishonest his entire term. He is the one who stopped the Security Council from imposing serious sanctions, providing the Iranians with precious time."
In an editorial published Wednesday, the British Daily Telegraph indirectly criticized ElBaradei. "Indeed, the IAEA has known for years that Tehran was building an atomic weapon, but has been reluctant to say so. This has made it more difficult to create a united front against the threat that a nuclear-armed Iran would pose to world peace," the article read.
Also on Wednesday, the Iranian Foreign Ministry said Tehran remains ready to engage in negotiations with world powers concerned about its nuclear program, but only if the other parties show it due respect.
"We have always announced that we are ready for positive and useful negotiations but, as we have mentioned repeatedly, the condition for those talks to be successful is that we enter those negotiations in a stance of equality and respect for nations' rights," Ramin Mehmanparast was quoted as saying by the website of Iran's Arabic language al-Alam television.