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Former Republican leader joins Trump and USA businesses in promoting the nuclear industry to Saudi Arabia

A nuclear deal with the Saudis is a good thing, says former GOP leader Eric Cantor

  • Saudi Arabia has been in negotiations with the U.S. and other countries for several years in pursuit of a nuclear energy partnership, with the stated aim of diversifying its energy base.
  • Riyadh has found a willing partner in the Trump administration, which has signaled far greater support for a deal than its predecessors.
  • Months of escalating tensions between the kingdom and its regional arch-rival Iran have raised the stakes for any future nuclear plans.
Natasha Turak………For around five years now, the Saudis have been in informal negotiations with the U.S. and other countries that could sell it nuclear reactors, with the stated aim of diversifying its energy base. In February, the kingdom recruited an American lobbying firm as an advisor on the legal issues surrounding developing a commercial nuclear program.

But what’s made many observers nervous is Riyadh’s refusal to accept a deal that would forbid it from enriching uranium and reprocessing plutonium — the mechanisms necessary not for nuclear energy, but for developing a weapon.

Saudis find support from Trump

Opposition from U.S. lawmakers on both sides of the political aisle has historically impeded the kingdom’s aims — Section 123 of the U.S. Atomic Energy Act of 1954 mandates that Congress review any sharing of nuclear technology with a foreign country.

Now, however, the Saudis have found a friendlier partner in the Trump administration, which has signaled far greater willingness to strike a deal than its predecessors.

A U.S. trade delegation visited the kingdom in April, led by the Washington-based Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) and in partnership with the U.S. Departments of Commerce, Energy, and State. It brought with it 20 companies from across the U.S. nuclear supply chain, to promote “the strong interest of U.S. industry to partner in Saudi Arabia’s ambitious nuclear energy program,” according to the delegation’s press release. 

……..Months of escalating tensions between Iran and its arch-rival Saudi Arabia raise the stakes for any future nuclear plans. In March, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told CNBC news that if Tehran was to build a nuclear bomb, so would Riyadh.

U.S. lawmakers and non-proliferation experts have expressed their concern over dual-use technology, and Bin Salman’s unpredictable and aggressive foreign policy has not helped his country’s case……https://www.cnbc.com/2018/05/13/former-gop-leader-eric-cantor-supports-nuclear-deal-with-saudi-arabia.html

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May 14, 2018 - Posted by | business and costs, politics, USA

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