Syria nuclear
Suspected Syrian nuclear facility reportedly bombed by Israel in 2007. Photo by Archive
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Diplomats say the International Atomic Energy Agency is setting the stage for UN Security Council action against Syria for allegedly trying to build a secret nuclear reactor.

On Thursday, the head of the IAEA said for the first time that a target allegedly destroyed by Israeli warplanes in Syria in 2007 was a covert nuclear site. The agency later retracted the statement, but diplomats say it is working on an assessment that will judge the destroyed building a likely reactor.

Syria says the building had no nuclear uses, but a 2008 IAEA inspection found evidence of possible nuclear activities.

The diplomats say such an assessment would be the basis of a resolution at an IAEA board meeting that sends the issue to the Security Council.

They spoke on condition of anonymity in exchange for discussing confidential information.