IAEA focuses on Iran and Syria at meeting in Vienna

Iran's past nuclear activities and Syria's alleged secret nuclear program are expected to be the main topics at a meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) board that opened in Vienna on Monday.

­Sabah Al-Mukhtar from the Arab Lawyers Association believes however that the IAEA’s suspicions are groundless:

“In the past few years the IAEA found nothing there, but think it could have been a project for a nuclear reactor. This is exactly a repetition of what happened with Iraq when we started to pile up all the accusations of September 11, nuclear facilities and the rest of it when it was just not true,” said Al-Mukhtar

It might seem from the lack of cooperation between Syria and the IAEA that Syria is hiding something. According to Al-Mukhtar this is exactly the conclusion the IAEA are trying to draw:

“The IAEA has inspected Dair Alzour number of times and Syria has told them it is a military installation and has nothing to do with a nuclear energy or power or a reactor. Still, the agency believed that since Syria is not telling them what else they are going to use it for it must be a nuclear facility and thus the matter should immediately be taken to the Security Council,” explained Al-Mukhtar.

Sabah Al-Mukhtar also believes that despite Syria's close partnership with Iran, there is no way Iran can be compared to Syria:

“Iran has an actually functioning nuclear system for peaceful purposes, as the Iranians say. But that brings the question – how come the IAEA never asks a question about the Israeli nuclear stations, Israel’s total refusal to assist in any way, not even to sign a treaty or to allow anybody to inspect any of the facilities.”

Al-Mukhtar pointed out that the fact Syria is facing mounting international pressure over its crackdown on protesters is part of the game:

“At the moment the West is trying to change these regimes. Syria has been one of the few resisting foreign policy, it’s been anti-Israeli very clearly, and therefore it’s time to get Syria to back down, therefore they apply all the pressure they can – domestically and externally.”