Deputy Freedom and Justice Party chairman Essam al-Erian has accused leading opposition figure and former UN International Atomic Energy Agency head Mohamed ElBaradei of treason for allegedly approving the US invasion of Iraq.
Erian claimed in a Facebook post that ElBaradei could potentially stand trial before the International Criminal Court if the international justice system is overhauled because he “gave grounds for the US invasion of Iraq,” adding that ElBaradei had been "a representative for the United States and Europe rather than being backed by his homeland, Egypt” for 12 years.
"Nineteen days after the declaration of war and the beginning of the invasion, Baghdad fell under the wheels of US and allies’ tanks. The war was the product of a big lie promoted by immoral media about Iraq’s possession of mass destruction weapons and links to Al-Qaeda,” Erian wrote.
Erian’s remarks are a sharp U-turn from those he made years ago describing ElBaradei as “the leader of change” and the “nation’s savior.” His prior remarks came right after ElBaradei ended his term as director of the International Atomic Energy Agency in 2009, when a large number of pro-democracy activists named him as a possible competitor to former President Hosni Mubarak's son, Gamal, as the next president of Egypt.
In 2010, when ElBaradei returned to Cairo, Erian praised what he called ElBaradei's "dream for change", which appeared in a widely-circulated YouTube clip.
Erian supported ElBaradei's call for constitutional changes because they "revived nationalist groups" and "materialized people’s demands in the face of Mubarak's regime.” He also said that ElBaradei "enjoyed respect on the international level, which won him the Nobel Peace Prize."