Friday, June 10, 2011

IAEA votes to report Syria to UN

Source: Press TV

Amid a whole host of abstentions and 'no' votes by Russia and China, the UN nuclear regulator votes to report Syria to the world body as what it describes as a former harborer of an undeclared nuclear reactor.

The motion was approved by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)'s board of governors in New York on Thursday with 17 members endorsing the move and 11 holding back their vote, AFP reported.

The body will therefore refer Syria to the UN Security Council over allegations that it built a nuclear reactor that was destroyed in 2007 by Israeli bombs.

The vote came a few days after IAEA's Director General Yukiya Amano slammed the Israeli regime for the arbitrary attack on what Tel Aviv had called 'a Syrian nuclear facility.'

Amano expressed regret that the bombing had been carried out "without the agency having been given an opportunity to perform its verification role."

In September 2007, at least four Israeli fighter planes crossed into the Syrian airspace and launched an attack on what turned out to be a research center that belonged to the regional grouping of the Arab League in the city of Deir ez-Zor in the northeast of the country.

The assault caused a significant rise in tension between the two sides, which are technically at war due to Tel Aviv's 1967 occupation and annexation of the Golan Heights in southwestern Syria.

"Rather than force being used, the case should have been reported to the IAEA," Amano had said.

Damascus denies harboring a nuclear weapons program. It opened up the attacked site to IAEA inspectors in 2008 and has pledged to fully cooperate with the agency regarding the issue.

Tel Aviv has neither confirmed nor denied bombing the site. Former US President George W. Bush has, however, written in his memoire, published last year, that the attack took place after he resisted former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's request for Washington to undertake the strike.

The developments come amid Tel Aviv's continued refusal to declare its nuclear arsenal and its insistence on not joining the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Since 1958, when Tel Aviv began building its Dimona plutonium- and uranium-processing facility in the Negev desert in southern Israel, it has secretly manufactured numerous nuclear warheads, thus becoming the sole owner of such weapons in the Middle East.

Former US President Jimmy Carter has attested to the existence of the arsenal, which he has said includes between 200 to 300 nuclear warheads.

Israel has, however, neither confirmed nor denied possessing nuclear arms under a deliberate policy of 'nuclear ambiguity.'

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