The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) voted Thursday to report Syria to the UN Security Council over evidence it was building a nuclear reactor at Deir Azzour. The plant was destroyed by the Israel Air Force in September 2007 while still under construction.
The vote was held at a closed-door session of the IAEA board of governors in Vienna. Seventeen of 35 countries voted in favor of the resolution and six voted against it. The resolution was sponsored by the US and 12 other nations. Russia and China were among those who voted to reject the resolution. Of the remaining 12 nations, one was absent and the rest abstained.
In a report filed before this week's meeting, IAEA Director-General Yukiya Amano wrote said Syria should have declared the existence of the Deir Azzour site.
Syria’s ambassador in Vienna, Bassem al-Sabag, said that he was “sorry” to hear of the IAEA decision but added that he believed Syria would continue to work with the IAEA.
A UNSC session devoted to a proposal to denounce Syria for the wholesale killing of protesters ended without a decision Wednesday. Britain, France, Germany and Portugal submitted the resolution. They said that they were ready to risk a veto by Russia, which has said it will oppose action against Syria by the Security Council.
"Syria's nuclear intentions at Deir Azzour are clear; the reactor there was built for the express purpose of producing plutonium for possible use in nuclear weapons," Glyn Davis, the chief US envoy to the IAEA, said.
“We believe that the world should not stand silent in the face of the outrages that are happening and we therefore hope that we will be able to move to vote on the resolution in coming days," said Britain's UN ambassador Mark Lyall Grant.