The United Nations nuclear watchdog pledged Friday to investigate whether Syria had secretly built an atomic reactor with North Korean help, but the agency also criticized the United States for delaying the release of intelligence.
The United States disclosed its intelligence material on Thursday, saying the Syrian reactor was “nearing operational capability” a month before Israeli warplanes bombed it on Sept. 6.
Mohamed ElBaradei, director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, criticized Israel on Friday for the airstrike, saying his inspectors should have been able to inspect the site before the bombing.
Dr. ElBaradei said “the unilateral use of force by Israel” undermined “the due process of verification that is at the heart of the nonproliferation regime.” He also said the American allegations against Syria would be investigated with due vigor.
Syria denied the charges and accused Washington of involvement in the Israeli attack.
Dr. ElBaradei, alluding to the United States, denounced a failure to share intelligence information “in a timely manner” about the project, which Washington said was initiated in 2001. He confirmed that Washington disclosed information this week and said that a Syrian facility destroyed by an Israeli airstrike in September was an unfinished reactor.
Analysts said the American disclosure did not amount to proof of an illicit nuclear arms program, because there was no sign of a reprocessing plant needed to convert spent fuel from the plant into bomb-grade plutonium.
“The absence of such facilities gives little confidence that the reactor was part of an active nuclear weapons program,” David Albright and Paul Brannan of the Institute for Science and International Security said in an e-mail commentary.
“The United States does not have any indication of how Syria would fuel this reactor,” they said. “This type of reactor requires a large supply of uranium fuel,” they added, saying that it “raises questions about when this reactor could have operated.”
Analysts said the Bush administration had delayed releasing the intelligence because of the risk that it might prompt Syria to retaliate against Israel.
Syria pledged to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency investigation. “Syria has nothing to hide,” its United Nations envoy, Bashar Jaafari, told reporters on Friday in New York… [emphasis added]
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I’ve held off writing about this situation until now, because of the lack of credible information about really happened and why. That lack persists, but I’m suspicious now based on two reasons. The first is the lack of support facilities, as stated above. The other is that the reason the Reich has given for the delay is clearly a lie. Lets get real here. Syrian retaliation against Israel is not a credible threat. Israel has nuclear weapons. Syria does not. Even if Israel had no nukes, the overwhelming superiority of Israel’s armed forces over Syria’s is sufficient to co make the threat of retaliation mute. Clearly, Bush and the GOP are hiding something here. the questions are what and why.