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World Opinion: On the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency

An excerpt from recent editorials in newspapers in the United States .

By The Associated Press

On the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency:

Even after Iran had been caught trying to conceal its nuclear facility near Qom, the head of the United Nations nuclear inspectors attempted to play down this deception. ...

Dr. ElBaradei is probably the main reason why Iran reckoned it had little to lose by its violation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty. At every stage, the Egyptian head of the IAEA has at-tempted to overlook Tehran's repeated breaches of its treaty obligations, to play down its nu-clear research program and to pour cold water on the warnings from America and Israel. ...

Luckily he leaves office next month. ...

Dr. ElBaradei made his name, however, for defying Washington over Iraq. His insistence that Saddam Hussein did not have weapons of mass destruction turned out fortuitously, many might conclude to have been right. Dr ElBaradei was seen across much of the developing world (and by other would-be dictators) as the champion who could not be bullied by George W. Bush. His reward was the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize. ...

The IAEA, conceived as a way of ensuring that nuclear energy could be used for the peaceful benefit of mankind, has become a UN agency at the center of some of the most vexed issues of global security. It is all the more unfortunate, therefore, that Western statesmen did not pay more attention to the views and qualifications of Dr. ElBaradei's successor. The choice of Yu-kiya Amano, Japan's representative to the IAEA, was barely noticed beyond the UN diplomatic circuit.

Mr. Amano, however, will soon have to tackle not only Iran and North Korea but other coun-tries whose nuclear potential ought to worry the world. ...

-- The Times, London