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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

ElBaradei Says U.S. Should Give Iran Security Guarantee

STOCKHOLM -- Nobel Peace Prize winner Mohamed ElBaradei said Monday that he thought the United States would need to give Iran a security guarantee before a final agreement could be reached regarding the country's atomic program.

ElBaradei, who heads the International Atomic Energy Agency, also said the United States would need to become more involved in the stalled negotiations between Iran and the European Union, which are aimed at making Tehran permanently freeze nuclear enrichment.

"I think part of the negotiations should be providing Iran with security assurances," ElBaradei said after meeting with Swedish Prime Minister Goran Persson to discuss the work of the IAEA. "I hope that as the negotiations with the European Union proceed that the United States at a certain point will be more engaged. We look at the United States ... to do the heavy lifting in the area of security."

In September, North Korea agreed to abandon its nuclear program in exchange for security guarantees and energy aid, and ElBaradei said a similar package would be needed to bring the negotiations with Iran to a successful close. Tehran temporarily froze its enrichment program in November 2004, but the Europeans want it permanently halted.

"I very much see [U.S. security assurances] as part of the final solution," ElBaradei said.

Concern that Iran may be pursuing a nuclear weapons program has strained relations between Tehran and Washington, and the United States has imposed unilateral sanctions on Iran, preventing American companies from doing business in the country. Iran says its nuclear program is designed only to generate electricity.

In Israel, a close U.S. ally, officials on Monday said that they would not rule out a military strike if Iran advanced in efforts to develop nuclear weapons.