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IAEA considering Syrian concerns

Sept. 6, 2013 at 11:45 AM

VIENNA, Sept. 6 (UPI) -- The International Atomic Energy Agency said Friday it was considering Syrian nuclear risks of a U.S. military strike following a request from Russia.

Vladimir Voronkov, the Russian envoy to the United Nations' nuclear watchdog, said Thursday the Moscow government was concerned about the nuclear risks in Syria should the U.S. military opt for a military strike.

The IAEA is called on to "immediately react to the current situation and provide member states with an analysis of risks, related to potential U.S. strikes on a neutron reactor and other objects in Syria," he was quoted as saying by the state-backed news agency RIA Novosti.

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. IAEA inspectors found traces of uranium at the site that had been undisclosed by Damascus.

Gill Tudor, a spokeswoman for the IAEA, told UPI in response to e-mail questions the watchdog was reviewing Russia's request.

"I can confirm that the IAEA has received a formal request from the Russian Federation," she said Friday. "The agency is considering the questions raised."

Moscow said it would raise the issue with the IAEA board of governors Monday.

Washington is considering military strikes on Syria in response to the alleged use of chemical weapons by the regime of President Bashar Assad.

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