Syria opposes new visit by International Atomic Energy Agency experts
Syria has rejected a new visit by International Atomic Energy Agency experts seeking to follow up on intelligence that Damascus built a secret nuclear site built with the help of North Korea, diplomats told The Associated Press on Saturday. They also said Washington was circulating a note among members of the IAEA board opposing a Syrian push for a seat on the 35-nation board.
Syria fears a massive atomic agency investigation similar to the probe Iran has been subjected to more than five years. "Syria's election to the board while under investigation for secretly ... building an undeclared nuclear reactor not suited for peaceful purposes would make a mockery" of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, said the note, as read to the AP.
According to the diplomats, the U.S. was pushing to encourage Kazakhstan to challenge Damascus for the seat.
Damascus rejected the IAEA request for a visit late last month, the diplomats said. The visit would have been a follow up to an initial trip by IAEA inspectors in June. "The Syrians said that a visit at this time was inopportune," said a senior diplomat.