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Investigators from the International Atomic Energy Agency, which works under the auspices of the United Nations, have found traces of enriched uranium in Syria, a potential sign that the country had been attempting to develop a nuclear program, Reuters quoted diplomats familiar with the IAEA investigation as saying.
According to Monday’s report, the uranium was discovered at the same site which was allegedly bombed by IAF jets in September 2007. Behind the scenes, Israel has reportedly been working to convince US and other Western officials of the legitimacy of the air strike, but the findings of the IAEA investigators provide the first independent confirmation that a nuclear program had indeed been in development.
The leaked information came shortly after the IAEA Director Mohamed ElBaradei announced he would release a formal, written report on the subject, Reuters reported. The IAEA had no immediate comment.
Diplomats further told the news outlet that Syria would be named an official agenda item at a meeting of the agency at the end of the month. This, Reuters reported, was different than previous investigation results, when IAEA officials termed their inquiries as inconclusive.
“The agency clearly thinks it has something significant enough to report to put Syria on the (nuclear safeguards) agenda right after North Korea and Iran,” one senior diplomat told Reuters.
“It isn’t enough to conclude or prove what the Syrians were doing but the IAEA has concluded this requires further investigation,” another diplomat with ties to the organization said.
“It was a man-made component, not natural (ore). There is no sign there was already nuclear fuel or (production) activity there,” a third diplomat told Reuters.