US says making progress with Saudi Arabia on possible nuclear program deal
Iran Press TV
Sat Oct 26, 2019 06:29PM
US Energy Secretary Rick Perry says conversations with Saudi Arabia on a nuclear program are going forward, despite fears that Riyadh aims to acquire nuclear weapons.
“The kingdom and the leadership in the kingdom .. will find a way to sign a 1,2,3 agreement with the United States, I think,” Perry said on Saturday at a round table in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates.
Progress on the discussions has been difficult because Saudi Arabia does not want to sign a deal that would rule out the possibility of enriching uranium or reprocessing spent fuel - both potential paths to a bomb.
Saudi officials, however, have said they would not agree to a deal that denies them the possibility of enriching uranium or reprocessing spent fuel, which could lead to a nuclear bomb.
Companies from the US, China, Russia, South Korea and France are speculated to be involved in preliminary talks about the project estimated to be worth billions of dollars.
Saudi Arabia claims that it wants to tap nuclear technology for peaceful purposes but enrichment of uranium is a sensitive step in the nuclear fuel cycle as it can open up the possibility of military uses of the material.
Concern over Saudi nuclear ambitions has mounted both because of the regime’s dark record of violating human rights, particularly for detention of women’s rights activists and the cruel murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey, as well as its brutal war on Yemen.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman laid the foundation of the kingdom’s first nuclear research reactor last November amid nuclear talks with the United States.
Mohammad bin Salman, who enjoy strong support from US President Donald Trump, has stated that Saudi Arabia would promptly acquire nuclear weapons if Iran did.
Riyadh is a staunch critic of the landmark 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran and world countries that placed certain limits on Tehran’s nuclear energy program in exchange for removal of nuclear-related sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
Iran has warned that it has noticed some of its neighbors with a “proven black record of supporting terrorist movements” working on “suspicious nuclear projects,” which would force Tehran to revise its defense strategy..
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