Syria: Israel trying to frame us

Damascus blames Israel for uranium traces; US, EU, urge Syria to drop nuclear secrecy.

March 4, 2010 16:54
2 minute read.
Satellite photos showing suspected Syrian nuclear

syria nuclear reactor site 311. (photo credit: Courtesy ISIS)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


VIENNA — Fiercely backed by allied Iran, Syria on Thursday denied hiding nuclear activities from the world and said Israel was the source of suspicious uranium particles found at a Syrian desert complex, allegedly bombed two years ago by IAF jets.

The Syrian and Iranian comments to the International Atomic Energy Agency's board of governors came in response to Western demands that Damascus stop stonewalling IAEA attempts to investigate suspicions that it ran covert nuclear programs — some with possible weapons applications.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.

While Iran remains the main focus of the board, Syria's refusal to allow IAEA inspectors into the country for follow-up visit to sites possibly linked to secret nuclear work was the principal theme of Thursday's closed board meeting.

A recent IAEA report prepared for the board said for the first time that uranium particles found at the desert facility allegedly destroyed by IAF warplanes in September 2007 indicate possible covert nuclear activities at the site. The finding lent backing to Western allegations that the bombed target was a nearly completed nuclear reactor that Washington says was of North Korean design and meant to making weapons-grade plutonium.

Syria has put forward several explanations for the source of the uranium at the bomb site and of uranium traces found at its Damascus research reactor that IAEA inspectors say would not normally be found at such a facility. One Syrian suggestion — that Israeli munitions used to bomb the desert location contained depleted uranium — has been all but ruled out by the agency.

Delegates inside the meeting told The Associated Press that Bassam Al-Sabbag, Syria's chief IAEA delegate offered a new theory Thursday, suggesting that Israel had dropped uranium particles from the air after the bombing to implicate his country.

Separately, Iranian chief delegate Ali Asghar Soltanieh said Israel — not Syria — should be criticized at the meeting, describing the bombing of the Dir A-Zur desert site as "an aggressive act, committed by the Zionist Regime." He accused the US and its allies of making an issue of "a few uranium particles."


But the USand the European Union said the onus was on Syria to disprove suspicions by cooperating with the agency.

IAEA experts inspected the Dair Alzour site in June 2008 but have been barred from revisiting since. Damascus also has turned down requests for visits to three linked sites which have undergone major landscaping work since those requests were made.

The IAEA has also been attempting to probe possible connections between the uranium traces found at the desert site and those detected during a separate 2008 visit at a research reactor in Damascus.

"Over the past two years, we have noticed a troubling pattern in Syria's behavior," Chief US delegate Glyn Davies told the meeting. "The more evidence the agency uncovers that Syria was engaged in serious safeguards violations, the more Syria has tried to actively hinder the agency's investigation."

On behalf of the EU, Spanish chief delegate Jose Luis Rosello expressed deep regret that Syria "has not been cooperative and transparent with the agency."

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Iranians shout slogans during a protest in Tehran, Iran, against President Donald Trump
November 20, 2018
Ex-CIA Director Hayden to 'Post': Iran looking to outlast Donald Trump