Friday, March 5, 2010
VIENNA: Syria said on Thursday that Israel dropped uranium particles onto Syrian soil from the air to make it look as if a covert nuclear weapons plant was being built there, diplomats at a UN nuclear watchdog meeting said.
Damascus has strongly denied US intelligence that a complex in the Syrian desert bombed to ruins by Israel in 2007 had been a nascent nuclear reactor, North Korean in design and geared to making plutonium for atomic bombs.
But International Atomic Energy Agency chief Yukiya Amano last month lent independent support to Western suspicions for the first time by saying uranium traces found in a 2008 visit by inspectors pointed to nuclear-related activity on the ground.
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He said Syria was still refusing to let the IAEA re-examine the Dair Alzour site, take swipe samples from rubble removed immediately to an unknown location after the air strike, and check three other sites under military control whose look was altered by landscaping after inspectors asked for access.
In a closed-door debate by the IAEA’s 35-nation board of governors, Syria reiterated its assertion that the uranium traces came with munitions Israel used to destroy the complex.
IAEA head inspector Olli Heinonen replied that the chemical composition, size, shape and distribution of the traces made it extremely unlikely they were a type of uranium sometimes used in munitions as a hardening agent, diplomats present said.
This article was posted: Friday, March 5, 2010 at 1:09 pm