'Syria to let inspectors visit only 1 suspected nuke site'

Israel keeps low profile on dispute over three more facilities, citing low standing inside IAEA.

Syrian reactor 224.88 (photo credit: Channel 2)
Syrian reactor 224.88
(photo credit: Channel 2)
Syria told a 35-nation meeting in Vienna that it will limit the sites UN nuclear inspectors will see during their visit, diplomats who attended the meeting said Thursday. The team of inspectors is investigating allegations that Damascus is hiding atomic facilities. The diplomats said Syrian nuclear official, Ibrahim Othman, told the International Atomic Energy Agency's board of nations that IAEA inspectors will only be able to visit the site Israel bombed last year. The US says the target was an undeclared nuclear reactor - something Syria denies. The IAEA wants to visit three other suspected nuclear sites during its June 22-24 planned inspection. But Othman told the board that other sites the agency wants to check for hidden nuclear activity would remain off limits. Israel, in the meantime, has made no official statement about the sites that Syria wants to hide from IAEA inspectors. Israel has taken such a low profile on the matter for two reasons, Israeli government officials said. The first is because Israel's standing inside the IAEA is not particularly strong since it does not allow full inspection of its nuclear facilities and because Jerusalem is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), and as such gets no nuclear assistance from the organization. Syria, however, has signed the NPT, and as such does get technical assistance, and in turn is obligated to allow IAEA inspections. The other reason for the low Israeli profile, officials said, was that there was simply no reason for Israel to get involved since the IAEA of its own volition wants to inspect the sites. If Israel became vocal on the issue, then the IAEA's insistence on inspecting the site would be liable to be misinterpreted as the organization doing Israel's bidding.