VIENNA, February 10 (RIA Novosti's Borislav Pechnikov) - The USA is out to block IAEA voting for Mohammed ElBaradei to retain his post of Director General, Novosti heard from an informed source on the Agency HQ in Vienna.

The USA is active in the lobby for the Egyptian lawyer not to stay at the helm of the International Atomic Energy Agency for a third term. The United States is recruiting supporters on the IAEA Board of Governors, which consists of 35 representatives of Agency member countries, said our informant.

John Bolton, Undersecretary of State, and other high US State Department officials are negotiating in the capitals of the most influential IAEA member countries to block the ElBaradei nomination.

What caused displeasure in Washington, D.C., were ElBaradei's pronouncements on alleged Iraqi nuclear arsenals during Saddam Hussain's rule. As the Director General also points out, no proof has ever been found of Iranian nuclear programs being military-oriented. The White House insists his statements are far from the real state of things as Tehran is secretly working at projects to manufacture its own nuclear arms.

The USA chose a hopeful who suited it-Alexander Downer, Australia's Foreign Minister, who, however, refused the flattering offer. Mr. ElBaradei thus was an only candidate for December 31, nomination deadline.

It is hard to say now whether the USA will be able to recruit twelve voters out of 35 on the IAEA Board of Governors and so vote the incumbent director down, remarked our interviewee.

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