VIENNA - Syria, itself suspected of illicit nuclear activity, accused the West at a major UN meeting on Wednesday of double standards in implicitly condoning an Israeli atomic arsenal and warned of a nuclear arms race in the Middle East.

The United States said last week Damascus was using the "brutal repression" of its people waging an uprising as an excuse not to address international concerns about its past nuclear work.

UN inspectors have long sought access to a site in Syria's desert Deir al-Zor region that US intelligence reports say was a nascent, North Korean-designed reactor designed to produce plutonium for nuclear weapons before Israel bombed it in 2007.

The UN's International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has also been requesting information about three other sites that may have been linked to Deir al-Zor, which Syria says was a conventional military site.

Please LIKE our Facebook page - it makes us stronger