Tabnak – Emboldened by an ever-increasing level of US support, the Saudi regime now appears to seek nuclear power as an element of national strength. This however has faced the American officials, who have been arguing against Iran’s nuclear capabilities, with a dilemma on how to deal with the issue when it comes to their own regional ally.
According to a Press TV report, days after threatening to make nuclear bombs, the Saudi crown prince boasts about the kingdom’s rich uranium reserves, saying Riyadh wants to have the ability to enrich its own uranium for use in the nuclear reactors to be built on Saudi soil.
In a lengthy meeting with the staff of The Washington Post, Mohammed bin Salman said his country held five percent of the world uranium reserves. “If we don’t make use of our uranium it is as if we have abandoned the use of oil,” he added.
Bin Salman said his main concern was being able to enrich and use Saudi Arabia’s own uranium for use in power reactors, rather than buying it from abroad.
Meanwhile, Reuters quotes Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih as saying Riyadh has international partners it can work with if the United States walks away from a potential deal on nuclear power technology over concerns about nuclear proliferation.
“If the US is not with us, they will lose the opportunity to influence the program in a positive way,” Falih said after he and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman met this week with US President Donald Trump, Energy Secretary Rick Perry and other officials on a range of issues.
Perry has been quietly working with Saudi Arabia on a nuclear agreement that could allow the kingdom to enrich uranium and reprocess plutonium, technologies that nonproliferation advocates worry could one day be covertly altered to produce fissile material for nuclear weapons.
According to Perry, it should be the United States leading any nuclear technology energy projects in Saudi Arabia, instead of countries that “have no requirement of nonproliferation.” Riyadh is also in talks with companies from Russia, China, South Korea and other countries as the race to build two reactors in Saudi Arabia heats up.
The US-Saudi talks on a nuclear agreement were frozen under the former US administration after the Saudis refused to accept Washington’s non-proliferation “gold standard” for civil nuclear cooperation deals.
The standard prohibits the recipient of the technology from enriching uranium and reprocessing plutonium, which could be used to produce fuel for nuclear weapons.
Some experts believe that Riyadh’s refusal to accept restrictions on uranium enrichment and plutonium extraction meant it sought to keep a nuclear weapons option open. In this vein, the Saudi crown prince told CBS in an interview on Sunday that Riyadh would be quick to develop nuclear bombs if Iran did so.
Riyadh is also a staunch critic of the landmark 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran and world countries that placed certain limits on Tehran’s nuclear program in exchange for removal of nuclear-related sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
سایت تابناک از انتشار نظرات حاوی توهین و افترا و نوشته شده با حروف لاتین (فینگیلیش) معذور است.