Syrian nuclear site that was bombed by Israel (Archives)
Photo: AP
'Peaceful program.' Moallem
Photo: AFP

Syria dismisses IAEA call for more inspectors access

FM Moallem rejects recommendation to adopt UN nuclear watchdog's Additional Protocol, which permits unfettered inspections beyond declared nuclear site. 'Unlike Israel, our program is peaceful,' he says

Syria dismissed on Saturday an International Atomic Energy Agency recommendation to allow its inspectors unrestrained access, days after the agency said a bombed Syrian complex could have been a nuclear site.


An IAEA report said on Thursday that Uranium particles found at a Syrian complex destroyed by an Israeli air raid in 2007 suggest the possibility of covert nuclear activity at the site.


The report, by new IAEA Director-General Yukiya Amano, prodded Syria to adopt the IAEA's Additional Protocol, which permits unfettered inspections beyond a declared nuclear site to check out any covert atomic activity.


"We are committed to the non-proliferation agreement between the agency and Syria and we (only) allow inspectors to come according to this agreement," Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem said.


"We will not allow anything beyond the agreement because Syria does not have a military nuclear program. Syria is not obliged to open its other sites to inspectors," Moallem said after meeting his Austrian counterpart Michael Spindelegger.


Moallem did not address the findings of the latest IAEA report on Syria and repeated Syria's position that its nuclear activities are peaceful and related mostly to medicine.


The United States said the site bombed by Israeli warplanes three years ago at al Kubar, around 60 km (37 miles) west of the city of Deir al-Zor, was a North Korean designed nuclear reactor geared to making weapons-grade plutonium.


'New sanctions on Iran counterproductive'

The IAEA report lent public support for the first time to the US assessment.


"Unlike Israel, our program is peaceful," Moallem said, referring to the Arab view that Israel has a massive nuclear arsenal that contributes to Middle East instability.


Previous IAEA reports on its investigation into Kubar said lack of Syrian cooperation impeded the investigation.


UN inspectors examined the site in June 2008 but Syrian authorities has barred them access since and did not let them visit three military sites.


The IAEA has also been checking whether there could be a link between the particles uncovered at Kubar and similar traces detected in swipe samples taken at a Damascus nuclear research reactor later in 2008.


The report said Syria had refused a meeting in Damascus last month to address the issue. But inspectors now planned to visit the research reactor on Feb. 23.


Syria, is an ally of Iran, which is under IAEA investigation over its nuclear facilities. Moallem said Western proposals for fresh UN sanctions on Iran were counterproductive.


"We do not think sanctions will solve the issue," he said. "They will complicated the chances for a constructive dialogue between Iran and the West."


French Prime Minister Francois Fillon said during a visit to Syria on Saturday that world powers would have to take new action against Iran if Tehran made no further gestures.


פרסום ראשון: 02.20.10, 18:15
 new comment
This will delete your current comment