Commentary Magazine


Syrian Noncompliance and Nuclear Proliferation

Speaking of Syria, the IAEA released its progress report on Syria’s nuclear activities on Friday, alongside the much more publicized document on Iran. It should be required reading both in Washington among supporters of re-engaging Damascus and in Brussels among supporters of finalizing the frozen Association Agreement between the EU and Syria. The agreement includes a nonproliferation clause that commits Syria to “fulfill existing obligations under disarmament and non-proliferation instruments.”

The IAEA report says that

Syria has not yet provided the necessary cooperation to permit the Agency to determine the origin of the anthropogenic natural uranium particles found in samples taken at the Dair Alzour site. Syria also did not cooperate with the Agency to confirm Syria’s statements regarding the non-nuclear nature of the destroyed building on the Dair Alzour site and to determine what, if any, functional relationship existed between the Dair Alzour site and three other locations, or to substantiate Syria’s claims regarding certain procurement efforts and its alleged foreign nuclear cooperation.

Even in the bland diplomat-ese spoken and written at the IAEA, this is not exactly an endorsement of Syrian compliance.

Is this not enough, then, for the EU to backpedal on the Association Agreement and for Washington to rethink its engagement with Damascus?