Secret nuclear plant found in Syria – IAEA

International Atomic Energy Agency investigators say they’ve discovered a secret nuclear plant in north-western Syria. They claim the complex has a similar design to a uranium enrichment plant Muammar Gaddafi tried to build in Libya.

However, there is apparently no evidence of nuclear production at the site, which is currently used as a cotton-spinning plant.

UN investigators say the previously unknown complex in Syria adds to suspicions that the regime worked with A.Q. Khan, the father of Pakistan’s atomic bomb, to acquire technology that could make nuclear weapons.

Correspondence between Khan and a Syrian official has also been found by the UN nuclear watchdog, as quoted by AP. According to the correspondence the Syrian official allegedly proposed cooperation as well as a visit to Khan’s laboratories.

A senior diplomat and a former UN investigator both provided the data on condition of anonymity.

The allegations come during difficult times for Syria, which is already under immense international pressure.

The timing of the IAEA's announcement is not coincidental, according to Spiked independent online magazine reporter Patrick Hayes.

"It shows how those institutions are formally independent from the UN, how political they actually are. This is a way of heaping more pressure on Syria at a time when the uprising has taken place. It brings about a kind of Western interference in a kind of insidious fashion. They are basically doing what they did in Iraq: using the guise of weapon inspections to poke their noses into all areas of countries that seem a bit suspicious," Hayes told RT.

Dr David Halpin, a British anti-war activist agrees with Hayes.

“The first thing I’d say is ‘Here we go again’: the main pretext for invading and bombarding Iraq was weapons of mass destruction. My second thought is that a neighbor of Syria that still holds this land, the Golan, has by all accounts a large nuclear armory and weapons to deliver this over some thousands of miles – not only are there rockets, there are also the dolphin submarines which were supplied by Germany to Israel [..]. All these are things I do not know [for certain], but I would be deeply suspicious about any story arising now about nuclear weapons, chemical weapons now, because Syria is in the crosshairs very evidently.”

President Assad has refused to allow inspectors access for several years. Halpin told RT that if he were President Assad he would be “rather worried about letting any inspectors in.”

“As for the inspectors that went to Iraq for years, I’m told that one of their tasks was in fact identifying the defense installations in the country, making sure their positions were known.”

­'Syria just wants to defend itself from Israel'

Political analyst Rabia Qais says that Syria’s nuclear program is not a new issue for the international community as it has been raised many times in the past.

He believes that Syria, like any other country in the region, is determined to have its own nuclear program to defend itself from a possible attack by Israel, as Israel is the only country in the Middle East that does have nuclear weapons.

“I think Syria, as any other regime in the region, has tried to have their nuclear program. But I think that Syria did not [reach] the state of production. Saddam Hussein’s past regime tried to build their nuclear [program] as well as Gaddafi’s regime, also the Iranian regime [is] trying to build a nuclear program,” he said. “But the political question is, why raise the voice now? The international society always is defending Israel and accusing the Arab countries.”