Syria tells UN atom body of its 'delicate situation'

VIENNA - Syria has asked the UN nuclear watchdog for understanding of the country's "delicate situation" in response to requests for Syrian cooperation with an investigation into suspected illicit nuclear activity, agency chief Yukiya Amano said on Monday.
The Syrian comments cited by Amano, director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, were an apparent reference to President Bashar Assad's campaign to stamp out a popular uprising, in which over 7,500 people have died by a UN count.
In a speech to a quarterly meeting of the IAEA's 35-nation governing board, Amano made clear that no progress had been made in the UN agency's almost four-year-old investigation regarding Syria.
The IAEA has been seeking access to a desert site at Deir al-Zor that US intelligence reports say was a nascent, North Korean-designed reactor intended to produce plutonium for atomic weaponry before Israel bombed it to rubble in 2007.
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