International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Mohammed ElBaradei has asked Iran to respond swiftly to the offer made by the US, France and Russia to process it’s enriched uranium to fuel abroad.

“This is a unique and fleeting opportunity to reverse course from confrontation to cooperation and should, therefore, not be missed,” he said yesterday at the UN General Assembly.

In his last address before stepping down as the chief of the IAEA, ElBaradei asked the international community to stick to the path of multilateral dialogue and not to follow the road of unilateral action, which had led to a “senseless tragedy” in Iraq.

“We must engage those with whom we have differences in dialogue rather than seeking to isolate them,” he said. “We must act within the framework of international institutions -- in this case, the IAEA and the Security Council -- and empower them, rather than bypass them through unilateral action.”

ElBaradei regretted that the Iraq war happened on his watch, which was done on “false pretext“.

“I will always lament the fact that the tragic war was launched in Iraq that has cost the lives of thousands of innocent civilians,” he said, highlighting that the agency had found no evidence that Iraq had revived its nuclear weapons programme or any other weapons of mass destruction.

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