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Punish Iran and Syria, U.S. lawmaker says

March 10, 2011 at 1:10 PM   |   Comments

WASHINGTON, March 10 (UPI) -- The International Atomic Energy Agency should suspend membership privileges for Iran and Syria for stonewalling, a U.S. lawmaker said.

IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano in a Monday report to members said Iran wasn't doing enough in terms of nuclear transparency.

The Syrian republic, Amano noted, hasn't cooperated with the IAEA since June 2008 regarding unresolved issues related to the Dair Alzour site.

Israeli jets bombed the Dair Alzour facility near al-Kibar in Syria in 2007. Intelligence officials said the site was a nuclear reactor of North Korean design under construction since 2001.

U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said in a statement the IAEA should suspend Iran and Syrian for its lack of transparency.

"Iran's and Syria's continued stonewalling of the IAEA cannot go unanswered," she said. "It is my hope that the IAEA director general's statements that Iran and Syria continue to refuse to cooperate with the agency will force the IAEA to take decisive action, followed up by U.N. Security Council action."

The congresswoman in February said it was "dangerous" for Washington to ignore the nuclear threat from Syria.

Tehran maintains its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes. On Syria, Amano said he received a letter from Damascus stating that Syria wished to work with the United Nations to resolve outstanding issues.

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