Assessing the potential nuclear dangers of U.S. military intervention in Syria could place the International Atomic Energy Agency in violation of its mandate, Washington’s envoy to the U.N. nuclear watchdog said on Monday.
The Vienna, Austria-based organization “must determine whether there is a scientific basis for conducting a highly speculative investigation of this kind,” Ambassador Joseph Macmanus in a statement prepared for delivery at a meeting of the 35-nation IAEA Board of Governors.
Moscow’s push for the analysis brings up a range of concerns tied to statutes, politics and implementation, IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano said to reporters on Monday. “I hope people understand that [responding] takes time,” he added, noting that Moscow had pushed for a quick answer from his agency.
An attack would risk dispersing highly enriched uranium to the surrounding environment, Russia has warned. The bomb-usable material could not be tracked following an aerial assault, Moscow indicated, possibly alluding to the material’s vulnerability to seizure by nonstate actors.
Amano said Syria’s only known research reactor does not contain a “big amount” of highly enriched uranium, but he added that additional radiological materials could be in storage at multiple Syrian medical and scientific facilities.
Former IAEA safeguards chief Olli Heinonen said the Middle Eastern country “should have substantial amounts” of atomic assets such as radioactive cobalt isotopes.
Such holdings could be “of a greater concern, if they end up in wrong hands,” Heinonen told Reuters by e-mail. “Normally they are stored in protected vaults.”
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With three days until the first debate, the polls are coming fast and furious. The latest round:
- An Associated Press/Gfk poll of registered voters found very few voters committed, with Clinton leading Trump, 37% to 29%, and Gary Johnson at 7%.
- A McClatchy-Marist poll gave Clinton a six-point edge, 45% to 39%, in a four-way ballot test. Johnson pulls 10% support, with Jill Stein at 4%.
- Rasmussen, which has drawn criticism for continually showing Donald Trump doing much better than he does in other polls, is at it again. A new survey gives Trump a five-point lead, 44%-39%.
In contrast to Hillary Clinton's meticulous debate practice sessions, Donald Trump "is largely shunning traditional debate preparations, but has been watching video of…Clinton’s best and worst debate moments, looking for her vulnerabilities.” Trump “has paid only cursory attention to briefing materials. He has refused to use lecterns in mock debate sessions despite the urging of his advisers. He prefers spitballing ideas with his team rather than honing them into crisp, two-minute answers.”
Donald Trump "is on the precipice of becoming the only major-party presidential candidate this century not to reach out to millions of American voters whose dominant, first or just preferred language is Spanish. Trump has not only failed to buy any Spanish-language television or radio ads, he so far has avoided even offering a translation of his website into Spanish, breaking with two decades of bipartisan tradition."
Bill and Hillary Clinton have purchased the home next door to their primary residence in tony Chappaqua, New York, for $1.16 million. "By purchasing the new home, the Clinton's now own the entire cul-de-sac at the end of the road in the leafy New York suburb. The purchase makes it easier for the United States Secret Service to protect the former president and possible future commander in chief."