ElBaradei: Right About Iraq, Now Iran

IAEA's Director General Mohamed ElBaradei briefs the media, during a special meeting on North Korea of the International Atomic Energy Agency's, IAEA, 35-nation board at Vienna's International Center, Monday, July 9, 2007.
AP Photo/Hans Punz
This column was written by CBS News Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith.

There's a man you ought to know named Mohammed ElBaradei. ElBaradei heads the International Atomic Energy Agency -- the watchdog group for nuclear activity around the world. ElBaradei is to nukes what Hans Blix was to weapons of mass destruction.

I first met Dr. ElBaradei in Baghdad a few weeks before the war began. He told me that the Iraqis didn't have any nukes and it didn't look like they were in the process of building any. He told me he didn't think Blix and his group would find any WMDs either. Turns out he was right.

Several years ago the Bush administration orchestrated efforts to get ElBaradei fired. He won the Nobel Prize instead and seems to have weathered that storm.

On Sunday, ElBaradei told CNN that Iran doesn't have nuclear material that could readily be turned into a weapon nor does it have an active weaponization program. I listened to a Bush administration friend discrediting ElBaradei on TV last night.

ElBaradei was right about Iraq. I'm thinking he's probably right about Iran, too.

Harry's daily commentary can be heard on many CBS Radio News affiliates across the country.