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U.S. blasts IAEA's Syria funding move

Nov. 25, 2008 at 8:17 AM

WASHINGTON, Nov. 25 (UPI) -- The United States says a decision by the International Atomic Energy Agency to help Syria build a civilian nuclear power plant is "inappropriate."

IAEA head Mohammed ElBaradei says there's no legal reason to prevent Syria from receiving a $350,000 assistance package from the U.N. agency, making the comments after an investigation of a Syrian site bombed by Israel as a suspected nuclear reactor revealed traces of uranium, the Voice of America reported Tuesday.

"(The IAEA decision) is wholly inappropriate, we believe, given the fact that Syria is under investigation by the IAEA for building a nuclear reactor, outside the bounds of its international commitments," U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack told VOA. "And for the IAEA to be involved in providing technical information concerning nuclear activities would seem to be contradictory, if not ironic."

Syria denies concealing nuclear activities but a IAEA report released last week said Syria had ignored requests for documentation on the building destroyed by the Israelis and wouldn't allow inspectors to visit three other sites believed linked to the alleged reactor, VOA reported.

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