Time may come for special nuke probe of Syria: US

A US envoy suggested time was running out for Syria to cooperate with a UN atomic agency probe of alleged secret nuclear activities before the agency invokes its seldom-used authority to call for a special inspection.

Last Updated: Sep 16, 2010, 20:25 PM IST

Vienna: A US envoy on Thursday suggested time was
running out for Syria to cooperate with a UN atomic agency
probe of alleged secret nuclear activities before the agency
invokes its seldom-used authority to call for a special
inspection, a possible prelude to UN Security Council
involvement.

Rising to Syria`s defense, a senior Iranian diplomat
accused the organisation, the International Atomic Energy
Agency, of harassing Syria by leveling false allegations in
collusion with Israel and its allies.

The two officials spoke as the 35-nation atomic agency
board meeting turned its attention from the agency`s probe of
Iran`s nuclear activities to suspicions that Syria has a
hidden nuclear programme.

Israeli warplanes bombed what the US says was a nearly
finished nuclear reactor three years ago, launching an agency
investigation.

After an initial visit to the site, agency inspectors have
not been allowed to return, or visit other suspect sites, and
the agency`s chief, Yukiya Amano, says Syria`s lack of
cooperation could mean that information sought by the agency
could be lost with the passage of time.

Iranian envoy Ali Asghar Soltanieh told the board that
Israel`s attack is the real issue and Syria has become
targeted by a "vicious circle of endless questions and
allegations."

Syria denies hiding nuclear activities.

PTI