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Atomic Irony

10:50 AM, Nov 25, 2008 • By MICHAEL GOLDFARB
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Less than a week after the IAEA reported that "a Syrian site bombed by Israel last year had features resembling those of a nuclear reactor site," the AP reports that Mohamed ElBaradei wants Syria build a nuclear reactor:

The chief U.N. nuclear inspector said Monday that Syria had a right to his agency's help in planning a power-producing atomic reactor, in what diplomats described as a rejection of U.S.-led efforts to block the aid.

The clash reflected tensions between Mohamed ElBaradei, the head of the U.N. nuclear agency, and key Western nations over whether Syria should be given potentially sensitive nuclear guidance at a time when it is being investigated.

Russia, China and developing nations also back the aid project, said diplomats who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the International Atomic Energy Agency talks.

U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said it was "totally inappropriate, we believe, given the fact that Syria is under investigation by the IAEA for building a nuclear reactor outside the bounds of its international legal commitments.

"And then for the IAEA to be involved in providing technical information concerning nuclear activities would seem to be contradictory, if not ironic," McCormack said.

It will be fascinating to see how an Obama administration, so keen to strengthen our alliances and restore our standing in the international community, will respond to this kind of idiocy from our international institutions.