IAEA Turns Up Pressure on Syria, Iran


"Syria likely building a covert nuclear reactor site, Minister says."


The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) sharpened his tone on Syria and Iran over their alleged secret nuclear activities on Monday, at a board meeting of the Vienna-based organization.

IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano said that 'the Syrian government was given ample time by the agency to cooperate fully concerning the Dair Alzour site, but did not do so.'

He said in a report last month that the site bombed by Israel in 2007 was likely a nuclear reactor that Syria was building in the desert without telling the nuclear agency.

Western diplomats said Monday that they were confident to win a majority the 35-country board for declaring Syria in breach of its nuclear inspection agreements.

However, they indicated that the hesitant stance of Russia and China might derail their second goal of referring the matter to the United Nations Security Council.

In one of his clearest assessments to date when Amano said: 'The activities in Iran related to the possible military dimensions seem to have been continuing until quite recently.'

He urged Iran to finally answer questions about various research and development projects which the Vienna-based nuclear agency says has little other uses than for military aims.

In his latest report on Iran issued in May, Amano specified that the seven suspicious research areas, including turning uranium metal 'into components relevant to a nuclear device.'

Both Syria and Iran deny that they were or are engaged in such covert nuclear programs.

Whereas Iran has made clear it does not intend to talk about the weaponization issue, Syria offered the IAEA full cooperation just days before the board meeting.

Amano said his agency would continue to talk to Syrian officials. 'But expressing intentions is not good enough and we would like to see concrete results,' he added.

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