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Hans Blix

Dr. Hans Blix

Hans Blix in Vienna 2002. Photo by Dean Calma, IAEA

1st Executive Chairman of the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection CommissionIn office
January 2000 – June 2003Preceded by None Succeeded by Demetrius PerricosDirector General of the International Atomic Energy AgencyIn office
1981 – December 1, 1997Preceded by Sigvard EklundSucceeded by Mohamed ElBaradeiMinister for Foreign AffairsIn office
October 18, 1978 – October 12, 1979Preceded by Karin SöderSucceeded by Ola UllstenBorn 28 June1928(1928-06-28) (age 79)
Uppsala, Sweden

Hans Martin Blix (help·info) (born 28 June 1928 in Uppsala, Sweden) is a Swedish diplomat and politician. He was Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs (1978 - 1979). Blix was also the head of the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission from March 2000 to June 2003, when he was succeeded by Demetrius Perricos. In 2002, the commission began searching Iraq for weapons of mass destruction, ultimately finding none. He is the son of professor Gunnar Blix and Hertha Wiberg and grandson of professor Magnus Blix. He comes from a family of Jamtlandic origin.


Early career

Blix studied at Uppsala University and Columbia University, earning his Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge (Trinity Hall).[1] In 1959, he became a Juris Doctor in International Law at the University of Uppsala, where he was appointed Associate Professor in International Law the next year. [2]

Between 1962 and 1978 Blix was a member of the Swedish delegation at the Disarmament Conference in Geneva. He held several other positions in the Swedish administration between 1963 and 1976, and from 1961 to 1981 served on the Swedish delegation to the United Nations. From 1978 to 1979, Blix was the Swedish Foreign Minister.

Blix chaired the Swedish Liberal Party's campaign during the 1980 Referendurm on nuclear power, campaigning in favor of retention of the Swedish nuclear energy program.

Head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (1981-1997)

Blix became Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency between 1981 and 1997 after Sigvard Eklund. He personally made repeated inspection visits to the Iraqi nuclear reactor Osiraq before its attempted destruction by the Iranians, in 1980, and its eventual destruction by the Israeli Air Force in 1981 during Operation Opera. Although most agreed that Iraq was years away from being able to build a nuclear weapon, the Iranians and the Israelis felt any raid must occur well before nuclear fuel was loaded to prevent nuclear fallout. The attack was regarded as being in breach of the United Nations Charter (S/RES/487) and international law and was widely condemned.

Iraq was alternately praised and admonished by the IAEA for its cooperation and lack thereof. It was only after the first Gulf War that the full extent of Iraq's nuclear programs, which had switched from a plutonium based weapon design to a highly enriched uranium design after the destruction of Osiraq, became known.

Iraq disarmament crisis (2002-2003)

During the Iraq disarmament crisis before the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Blix was called back from retirement by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to lead United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission in charge of monitoring Iraq. Kofi Annan originally recommended Rolf Ekéus, who worked with UNSCOM in the past, but both Russia and France vetoed his appointment. Hans Blix personally admonished Saddam for "cat and mouse" games [2] and warned Iraq of "serious consequences" if it attempted to hinder or delay his mission [3].

In his report to the UN Security Council on February 14, 2003, Blix claimed that "If Iraq had provided the necessary cooperation in 1991, the phase of disarmament -- under resolution 687 -- could have been short and a decade of sanctions could have been avoided." [4]

Blix's statements about the Iraq WMD program came to contradict the claims of the Bush administration, [5] and attracted a great deal of criticism from supporters of the invasion of Iraq. In an interview on BBC TV on 8 February 2004, Dr. Blix accused the U.S. and British governments of dramatising the threat of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, in order to strengthen the case for the 2003 war against the regime of Saddam Hussein.

Newt Gingrich stated that approving Hans Blix as chief U.N. weapons inspector was one of the biggest mistakes the United States ever made.

In an interview with London's Guardian newspaper, Hans Blix said, "I have my detractors in Washington. There are bastards who spread things around, of course, who planted nasty things in the media" [6].

In 2004, Blix published a book, Disarming Iraq, where he gives his account of the events and inspections before the coalition began its invasion.

Ultimately, no stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction were found. [7]

Hans Blix said he suspected his home and office were bugged by the United States, while he led teams searching for Saddam Hussein's supposed weapons of mass destruction.[3]Although these suspicions were never directly substantiated, evidence of a proposed effort to bug U.N. security council representatives around the time the U.S. was seeking approval from the council came to light after a British government translator leaked a document "allegedly from an American National Security Agency" requesting that British intelligence put wiretaps on delegates to the U.N. security council.[4]

Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission

Please help improve this article or sectionby expanding it.
Further information might be found on the talk pageor at requests for expansion. (July 2007)

Since 2003 Blix has been chair of the Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission (WMDC), an independent body funded by the Swedish government and based in Stockholm [8].

In December 2006, the Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission said in a report that Pakistan’s infamous and controversial nuclear proliferator Abdul Qadeer Khan could not have acted alone, “without the awareness of the Pakistani government”.[5]


Cultural references

  • Hans Blix is parodied in Team America: World Police, where he is fed to sharks by Kim Jong-il, President of North Korea.
  • Hans Blix appeared in the documentaries The World According to Bush [9] and Europe & USA: Behind the Scenes of a Political Rupture [10] .
  • Hans Blix appears in David Hare's political play Stuff Happens.
  • Hans Blix is mentioned in Pain Of Salvation's song "America", from the album Scarsick.


See also

External links

Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Hans Blix Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Hans Blix


  1. ^ 2002 Friedmann Award Given to Dr. Hans Blix Retrieved 3/21/07
  2. ^ Retrieved 3/21/07
  3. ^ "Blix suspected U.S. spied on him", cnn. Retrieved on 2007-09-20
  4. ^ "Iraq war 'spy memo case' collapses", cnn. Retrieved on 2008-04-21
  5. ^ "A Q Khan did not act alone" says Hans Blix team[1]
  6. ^ "Nuke-hunter Blix awarded Sydney Peace Prize", ABC News Online, May 21, 2007. 
Preceded by
Karin SöderSwedish Minister for Foreign Affairs
1978 – 1979 Succeeded by
Ola UllstenPreceded by
Sigvard EklundDirector General of the IAEA
1981 – 1997 Succeeded by
Mohamed ElBaradeiPreceded by
None Executive Chairman of the UNMOVIC
2000 – 2003 Succeeded by
Demetrius Perricos
v • d • eSydney Peace Prize laureates

Muhammad Yunus (1998) · Desmond Tutu (1999) · Xanana Gusmão (2000) · William Deane (2001) · Mary Robinson (2002) · Hanan Ashrawi (2003) · Arundhati Roy (2004) · Olara Otunnu (2005) · Irene Khan (2006) · Hans Blix (2007)

Categories: 1928 births | Living people | People from Uppsala | Swedish nobility | Swedish Lutherans | Alumni of Trinity Hall, Cambridge | Swedish diplomats | Swedish Ministers for Foreign Affairs | Swedish Liberal Party politicians | Uppsala University alumni | Olof Palme Prize laureates | Sommar hostsHidden categories: Articles to be expanded since July 2007 | All articles to be expanded

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