Syrian nuclear facility bombed by Israel
Photo: AFP

Washington urges UN to search for more Syrian nuclear sites

US officials pressing IAEA to broaden scope of search in Syria after nuclear facilities, Washington Post reports

The United States is pressing UN inspectors to broaden the scope of a search in Syria to include possible secret nuclear facilities, The Washington Post reported in Thursday editions, citing US government officials and Western diplomats.


At least three sites have been identified by US officials and passed along to the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, the newspaper reported.


US government officials declined to describe the specific sites that have drawn interest or to discuss how they were identified, it said.


Citing unnamed sources, the Post said US officials want to know if the suspect sites may have been support facilities for the alleged Al Kibar reactor destroyed in an Israeli raid in September.


Syria has said the facility was a disused military building in its eastern desert that had no nuclear link. It has yet to accept a request from the IAEA to visit the site.


Israel is believed to have the Middle East's only nuclear arsenal.


The United States and other Western governments have long been interested in identifying possible locations for a facility in Syria that might have supplied nuclear fuel rods for a Syrian reactor, the Post said.


Although the Al Kibar facility was described as almost completed when it was bombed, it had no clear source of the uranium fuel necessary for operation, the paper said, citing US intelligence officials and diplomats.


CIA Director Michael Hayden told the newspaper that the intelligence community's insight into Syria's nuclear ambitions has deepened since the Israeli raid.


"Do not assume that Al Kibar exhausted our knowledge of Syrian efforts with regard to nuclear weapons," Hayden said in an interview. "I am very comfortable -- certainly with Al Kibar and what was there, and what the intent was."


פרסום ראשון: 05.29.08, 07:38
 new comment
See all talkbacks "Washington urges UN to search for more Syrian nuclear sites "
This will delete your current comment