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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Syria to Let In IAEA Inspectors

VIENNA — Syria has invited UN inspectors to visit in a probe of allegations that a remote building destroyed by Israeli combat jets was a nuclear reactor built secretly with North Korean help, the International Atomic Energy Agency said Monday.
Announcing the planned June 22-24 visit, IAEA head Mohamed ElBaradei also criticized Iran for stonewalling his investigations into allegations that the country worked on a secret nuclear weapons program.
His comments to the agency’s 35-nation board reflected the focus of a board meeting that opened Monday — Iran’s nuclear defiance and suspicions that Syria tried to build a plutonium-producing reactor and cover up after the building was flattened in September by Israel.
Neither the United States nor Israel told the International Atomic Energy Agency about the Syrian site until late April, about a year after they obtained what they considered to be decisive intelligence: dozens of photographs from a handheld camera that showed the compound in Syria’s eastern desert.
Since that time, Syria had not reacted to repeated agency requests for a visit to check out the allegations, using the interval to erect another structure over the site — a move that heightened suspicions of a possible cover-up.
ElBaradei repeated his criticism of Israel and the United States, taking Washington to task for waiting to brief him on its suspicions, and Jerusalem for its air strike.