Just two days after the International Atomic Energy Agency’s reported that Syria had likely built a nuclear reactor on the site bombed by Israel in 2007, Syria has promised full compliance with any and all future IAEA investigations and inspections.
On a side note, Syrian President Assad today also offered general amnesty to all “political” prisoners, i.e. protesters, in an attempt to quell the protests that military force has been unable to stop for over ten weeks. 1,000 people have been killed by Syrian forces.
It appears that the Syrian government is hard at work to renovate its public image.
The U.S. has put forth a draft resolution to the IAEA governing board referring Syria to the U.N. for non-compliance with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The vote is scheduled for June 6 and could result in punitive action against Damascus, as occurred with Iran. By reporting Syria, the U.S. may be hoping to gain has the added benefit of reigniting the conversation about Iran’s NPT transgressions, thereby strengthening support for tougher sanctions on Iran.
Syria’s sudden interest in making nice after having stonewalled inspectors since 2008 is likely to stall any attempts to penalize the country and could offer Damascus more time to destroy what evidence is left at the reactor site. Another concern is that Syria’s sudden agreeableness could also “dilute efforts to end Syria’s bloody crackdown on its grass-roots pro-democracy movement.”
The IAEA is a slow moving body and inspections might not resume immediately, but soon enough we shall see if President Assad and his Ba’athist party have any interest in real change or if it is just PR.