UpFront-29Jan2016-BlixHans Blix, the former chief UN weapons inspector and ex-IAEA chief, speaks with Al Jazeera English:

  • Says he’s “doubtful” ISIL would exist without the U.S.-led Iraqi invasion
  • Supports Jeremy Corbyn’s desire to scrap Trident, the UK’s nuclear deterrent, saying it’s a “tremendous cost and very little gain” and less about security and more about “sentimental status seeking”
  • Backs the Iran nuclear deal: “I think it is a very good deal”
  • Says climate change concerns him more than nuclear war or international terrorism: “I must confess I’m more worried about climate change.”


In an exclusive interview with Al Jazeera English’s flagship current affairs show, UpFront, Hans Blix, the former UN chief weapons inspector, says he’s “doubtful” ISIL would exist without the US-led invasion of Iraq.


“I think it is doubtful that [ISIL] would have existed,” he told UpFront host Mehdi Hasan, when asked about the impact of the Iraqi invasion. “Because many of their cadres come from people who were dissatisfied Sunnis.”


“In Iraq the Shias came to power and the Sunnis were ostracized and many of them joined ISIS,” he added.


Blix, who also served as head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and as foreign minister of Sweden, threw his support behind Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn’s call to scrap Trident, the United Kingdom’s independent nuclear deterrent. “It’s a tremendous cost and very little gain,” said Blix, agreeing with Corbyn’s position.


“I do not see that it really perceptibly adds to British security,” he added. “I think it’s more a question of sentimental status seeking.”


“They will keep their seat in the Security Council even if they don’t continue with Trident.”


During the wide-ranging interview, Blix voiced his support for the Iran nuclear deal. “I think it is a very good deal,” he told Hasan. “I take off my hat to Kerry and to Lavrov and to Zarif of Iran for their patience, and Catherine Ashton. All of them, they showed that diplomacy did work,” he added.


On the subject of climate change, Blix believes it’s a bigger threat than nuclear war or international terrorism. “Long term, I confess I’m more worried about the climate change,” he said. “We have now managed to live 70 years without further nuclear war exploding.”


Watch and embed the 11-minute interview at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P_eF1poGNX4.


UpFront, hosted by Mehdi Hasan, broadcasts on Fridays at 19.30 GMT/21.30SAST. For more information, visit http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/upfront/ or follow UpFront on Twitter @AJUpFront.



Kevin Kriedemann & Joy Sapieka

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