Russia Urges IAEA to Assess Risks of US Attack on Syria’s Nuclear Program

US: IAEA Not Authorized to Consider US Strike

by Jason Ditz, September 09, 2013

Russian officials are pressing the IAEA to rush a report on the risks posed to the population of the Syrian capital of Damascus by a planned US attack, centering on the dangers of the US hitting the nation’s nuclear reactor.

A potential strike on that reactor, Russian officials argue, would spread radiation over the surrounding area and could also pose a proliferation risk if al-Qaeda-linked rebels obtained the material.

Syria’s nuclear program is comparatively small, and its reactor only has about 1 kg of highly enriched uranium within. That’s nowhere near enough for a proper nuclear weapon, but would be enough for a dirty bomb.

The US is opposing the IAEA issuing any report on the risks of such an attack, saying that the IAEA doesn’t have any specific mandate to study the potential effects of a US attack.

The IAEA has yet to decide if such a report will even take place, with chief Amano Yukiya saying that they need to study the legal and technical issues before deciding if they can do so in the face of US opposition.

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