Mohamed ElBaradei (born June 17, 1942, Egypt) is the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), an inter-governmental organization under the auspices of the United Nations. ElBaradei and the IAEA were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005.
ElBaradei earned a Bachelor's degree in Law from the University of Cairo in 1962 and a Doctorate in International Law at the New York University School of Law in 1974. His diplomatic career began in 1964 in the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign affairs, where he served on two occasions in the Permanent Missions of Egypt to the United Nations in New York and in Geneva. In 1980, he became a senior fellow in charge of the International Law Program at the United Nations Institute for Training and Research.
Since 1984, ElBaradei has been a senior member of the IAEA Secretariat, holding a number of high-level positions. Before his current position of Director General, he has been the agency's legal adviser (1984 to 1993) and Assistant Director General for External Relations (1993 to 1997).
ElBaradei is also a member of the International Law Association and the American Society of International Law. He is married to Aida Elkachef, a kindergarten teacher at Vienna International School, and has two children, Laila and Mostafa. In June 2005, an IAEA spokesman denied rumours that Aida Elkachef was an Iranian and influenced her husband's decisions concerning the Islamic Republic, but refused to elaborate on her nationality. Aida is Egyptian, and the daughter of Laila Erfan
ElBaradei has served as the Director General for the IAEA for two terms since December 1, 1997, and is now set for a third term after the current US administration reluctantly reversed its opposition to him in June 2005. According to the Washington Post, several intercepts were made on ElBaradei's phone calls concerning Iran's nuclear program in which the Bush administration hoped to find information that would help to remove ElBaradei as director of the IAEA. ElBaradei has questioned the U.S. rationale for the war in Iraq since the 2003 Iraq disarmament crisis, when he, along with Hans Blix, led a team of UN weapons inspectors in Iraq, seeking evidence of weapons of mass destruction. He has also been accused by the US of having a lenient approach in dealing with Iranian program in light of revelations that Iran has recently begun reprocessing nuclear material.
There is no rival candidate for the upcoming director general's term, though the U.S. tried to convince Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer to run for the job (he declined). The decision of the IAEA board of governors was still postponed through May 2005. On 9 June, the U.S. dropped its objections after a meeting between US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and ElBaradei, which opened the way to approval by the IAEA Board of Governors meeting on 13 June.
During ElBaradei's term as Director General for the IAEA, the following countries have joined the nuclear club: India, Pakistan, and North Korea. Iran is currently "negotiating" entry. It also should be noted that India and Pakistan did not sign the Nuclear non-proliferation treaty.
Ten days before the 2004 U.S. presidential election, a query by ElBaradei about 377 tons of missing explosives in Iraq surfaced in what many pundits had referred to as the then-expected "October surprise". The IAEA so far only has verified in its paperwork that 219 tons of explosive materials were at Al-Qaqaa and surrounding facilities. The U.S. military had destroyed an estimated 250 tons of explosives
On October 7, 2005, ElBaradei and the IAEA itself were announced as joint recipients of the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize for their "efforts to prevent nuclear energy from being used for military purposes and to ensure that nuclear energy for peaceful purposes is used in the safest possible way," implicitly disavowing criticism of them since the second Allied-Iraqi Gulf war, and especially the failed U.S.-led attempt not to prolong his term in office. ElBaradei donated all his winnings to building orphanages in his home city of Cairo. The IAEA's winnings will be spent on removing landmines from developing countries