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IAEA chief: should have ‘howled’ louder on Iraq

3International Atomic Energy Agency IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei attends a board of governors meeting in Vienna June 18, 2009.

IAEA chief: should have ‘howled’ louder on Iraq

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency said he should have “howled harder” on Iraq and that the war was the most “dissatisfying moment” of his life.

Mohamed ElBaradei, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, in responding to 10 questions in Time magazine, also said the jury is out on whether Iran was developing nuclear weapons.

One of the main justifications for the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 by the administration of President George W. Bush was the assertion that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. No such weapons were found in the years since the war began.

“The most dissatisfying moment of my life, of course, was when the Iraq war was launched. That hundreds of thousands of people lost their lives on the basis of fiction, not facts, makes me shudder,” ElBaradei said.

Asked what had been a “bad judgment call” on his part, ElBaradei responded: “I should probably, before the Iraq war, have screamed and howled harder and louder to prevent people from misusing the information that was made available by us.”

On Iran, ElBaradei said Tehran needs to clarify questions about its nuclear program and that he supports U.S. President Barack Obama’s effort to engage in a dialogue.

“We are not sure that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons. The jury is still out,” ElBaradei said.

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Clinton:”My husband is not secretary of state, I am”

2United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton addresses a press conference in Luanda, August 9, 2009.

Clinton:”My husband is not secretary of state, I am”

KINSHASA (Reuters) – Usually calm in public, top U.S. diplomat Hillary Clinton snapped at a Congolese student on Monday when asked about her husband’s views on a foreign policy issue, saying: “My husband is not secretary of state, I am.”

“You want me to tell you what my husband thinks?,” she replied angrily when a university student in Kinshasa asked what former President Bill Clinton thought about a deal between China and Democratic Republic of Congo.

“If you want my opinion, I will tell you my opinion, I am not going to be channeling my husband,” she added, without commenting further on the infrastructure-to-minerals deal that has raised some IMF concerns.

The former U.S. president stole the diplomatic spotlight from his wife last week. On the day she set off on an 11-day trip to Africa, Bill Clinton was on a secret mission to North Korea to secure the release of two U.S. journalists.

Clinton said afterward she was relieved the mission had been successful but made clear the former president’s Pyongyang mission was purely humanitarian and not linked to the work she is doing to revive stalled nuclear talks.

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Obama: Ouster of Honduran president Zelaya was coup

1U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at the joint statement at the Cabanas Cultural Center in Guadalajara, Mexico, while attending the North American Leader’s Summit, August 10, 2009.

Obama: Ouster of Honduran president Zelaya was coup

GUADALAJARA, Mexico (Reuters) – President Barack Obama said on Monday it was hypocritical for critics of Washington’s response to a coup against Honduran President Manuel Zelaya to demand a more forceful U.S. role in returning him to power.

Zelaya, an ally of anti-U.S. leftist Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, said last week the United States needs “only tighten its fist” to evict the de facto government installed after he was overthrown in June.

“The same critics who say that the United State has not intervened enough in Honduras are the same people who say we are always intervening and the Yanquis need to get out of Latin America,” Obama said told a closing news conference at a U.S.-Mexico-Canada summit in Guadalajara.

“You can’t have it both ways,” he insisted, without naming names. “We have been very clear in our belief that President Zelaya was removed from office illegally, that it was a coup and that he should return. We have cooperated with all the international bodies in sending that message.”

The Latin American left had bitterly criticized Washington over the decades for intervening in the region’s affairs through military force, covert action and economic pressure.

Obama, who took office in January, has promised to forge a relationship with Latin America based on mutual respect.

Obama told reporters in Washington last week he had no quick way to resolve the political crisis in Honduras and that the United States would not take unilateral action.

“If these critics think that it’s appropriate for us to suddenly act in ways that in every other context they consider inappropriate, then I think that what that indicates is that maybe there’s some hypocrisy involved in their approach to U.S.-Latin American relations,” Obama said on Monday.

Mediation efforts by Costa Rican President Oscar Arias have so far failed to achieve Zelaya’s return.

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