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U.S. wary of IAEA probe in Syria

Sept. 10, 2013 at 9:54 AM   |   Comments

VIENNA, Sept. 10 (UPI) -- A Russian request to examine nuclear security in Syria requires additional examinations, the U.S. envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency said.

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

IAEA spokeswoman Gill Tudor told United Press International last week the watchdog was reviewing Russia's request.

IAEA inspectors have said they found traces of uranium at the Dair Alzour nuclear facility in Syria that was undisclosed by the government in Damascus.

Joseph Macmanus, U.S. envoy to the IAEA, told the board of governors in Vienna the Russian government was calling for an investigation into a "hypothetical threat."

"The [IAEA] Secretariat will have to review such a request in light of legal authorities, mandate, and resources and must determine whether there is a scientific basis for conducting a highly speculative investigation of this kind," he said in a statement Monday. "In short, this will need further study."

Washington has pushed for some form of military strike on Syria as a response to the alleged government use of chemical weapons on a suburb in Damascus last month.

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