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Sunday, June 12, 2011     INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING

IAEA reports Syria to UN Security Council over Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty violation

WASHINGTON — The United Nations has been assigned to examine Syria's secret nuclear weapons program.


The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has decided to refer Syria to the Security Council for violating the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Middle East Newsline reported. The agency move would leave Damascus vulnerable to sanctions by the council.

"[The agency's board of governors] decides to report, as provided for in Article XII.C of the statute, through the director-general, Syria's non-compliance with its Safeguards Agreement to all members of the agency and to the Security Council and General Assembly of the United Nations, to provide to the Security Council all reports prepared by the director-general related to the issue, and to make the text of this resolution as well as all previous reports on this issue available to the public."

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IAEA also called on Syria to sign the so-called Additional Protocol of NPT. The protocol allows the agency to conduct spot inspections on undeclared nuclear facilities.

"Syria's apparent attempt at constructing a covert, undeclared plutonium production reactor, a reactor with no credible peaceful purpose, represents one of the most serious safeguards violations possible," U.S. envoy to IAEA, Glyn Davies, said on June 9.

Officials said the agency determined that Syria was conducting a secret nuclear weapons program. They cited Syria's attempt to build a plutonium facility that would produce a large amount of fissile material for a nuclear weapon.

"Syria's nuclear intentions at Dir Al Zour are clear," Ms. Davies said. "The reactor there was built for the express purpose of producing plutonium for possible use in nuclear weapons."

In 2007, Dir Al Zour was destroyed in an air strike attributed to Israel. Later, the United States, in an assertion confirmed by the agency, said Dir Al Zour was built by North Korea and financed by Iran.

"The building destroyed at the Dir Al Zour site in September 2007 was very likely a nuclear reactor and should have been declared by Syria," IAEA said.

Over the last three years, Syria has rebuffed several IAEA attempts to visit and conduct tests at Dir Al Zour. The agency said this marked a violation of Syria's commitment to cooperate in non-proliferation efforts.

"Syria has stonewalled and obstructed the efforts of the IAEA to investigate the nuclear reactor for years, refusing to provide access to associated sites, personnel and documents in violation of Syria's freely-accepted legal obligations," the White House said on June 9. "We will work with partners and allies around the world to stand together to insist that every country meet its responsibilities or be held accountable for its actions."

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