An Indispensable Irritant to Iran and Its Foes - New York Times: "September 17, 2007 An Indispensable Irritant to Iran and Its Foes By ELAINE SCIOLINO and WILLIAM J. BROAD VIENNA — Late in August, Mohamed ElBaradei put the finishing touches on a nuclear accord negotiated in secret with Iran. The deal would be divisive and risky, one of the biggest gambles of his 10 years as director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency. Iran would answer questions about its clandestine nuclear past in exchange for a series of concessions. With no advance notice or media strategy, Dr. ElBaradei ordered the plan released in the evening. And then he waited. The next day, diplomats from the United States, France, Britain and Germany marched into his office atop a Vienna skyscraper to deliver a joint protest. The deal, they said, amounted to irresponsible meddling that threatened to undermine a United Nations Security Council strategy to punish, not reward, Tehran. Dr. ElBaradei, an Egyptian-born lawyer, was polite but firm. “If Iran wants to answer questions, what am I supposed to do, tell them it can’t?” he asked."