'IAEA may take action against Syria if blocks inspection'

Syria has blocked inspectors from touring Deir al-Zur for over two years; now coming under increased US pressure and threat of sanctions.

IAEA 311 (photo credit: Associated Press)
IAEA 311
(photo credit: Associated Press)
The United States warned Syria on Friday that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) may take actions against it if it does not allow IAEA inspectors to tour Deir al-Zur and other sites, where Damascus is suspected of having operated a nuclear reactor program, Israel Radio reported.
The IAEA's US representative, Glenn Davis, said it was crucial for Syria to accept the inspectors' requests to tour the sites in question, and to study their findings.
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Syria has blocked inspectors from touring Deir al-Zur for over two years. In September, a US envoy suggested time was running out for Syria to cooperate with the 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.
Three years ago, IAF warplanes reportedly bombed what the US said was a nearly finished nuclear reactor, 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.
Syria denies hiding nuclear activities.
Refusal by Syria to allow a special inspection would allow the board to refer the issue to the UN Security Council, which then could issue a reprimand, pass a resolution demanding compliance and ultimately pass the kind of sanctions Iran is now under for refusing to heed demands to curb nuclear activities that could be used both to generate energy or make weapons.