ElBaradei: No Legal Basis for Curbing Syria’s IAEA Rights

The IAEA released a report on its investigation into allegations regarding Syria on Wednesday. The verdict was inconclusive, they found no definitive evidence of any wrongdoing but called for future investigations. Nevertheless, unproven accusations were sufficient for the United States and the European Union to call for the suspension of IAEA aid to Syria. At the moment the IAEA’s aid to Syria consists of a three year, $350,000 project to help find a suitable location for a hypothetical nuclear power plant.

State Department spokesman Sean McCormack says it is “wholly inappropriate” to provide aid through the IAEA given the investigation, but IAEA head Mohamed ElBaradei insists there is no legal basis to curbing Syria’s IAEA membership rights based on as-yet unproven allegations. ElBaradei likened the claims to those made against Iraq prior to the 2003 US invasion, which were used as an excuse for invasion but proven untrue.

The investigation stems from a September 2007 Israeli attack on a Syrian military building which the US later claimed was a nearly-completed gas-graphite nuclear reactor built with the help of North Korea. Concrete evidence of the claim has proven elusive, and has focused on a minute amount of uranium found near the site. In explaining the lack of proof for the allegations, diplomats have speculated that Syria dug an enormous hole and dumped all the proof into it.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of Antiwar.com.