Syria urges UN nuke agency to asses strike risk

AP News
Posted: Sep 10, 2013 6:58 AM

VIENNA (AP) — Syria has joined Russia in asking the U.N. atomic agency to assess the hazards posed by a possible military strike on its nuclear facilities.

The comments Tuesday by Bassam Al-Sabbagh, Syria's envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency, follow a similar request by Moscow in a meeting Monday of the IAEA's 35-nation board.

Russia is Syria's strongest ally in efforts to prevent U.S. air strikes on Syrian government targets in retaliation for a chemical weapons attack that killed hundreds of Syrians.

Al-Sabbagh expressed "deep concern" about the nuclear risks of an attack. He told reporters Syria feels the agency has the authority to do an assessment.

The U.S., however, says such a report is outside the IAEA's mandate.

IAEA chief Yukiya Amano says he needs time to consider the request.