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America shouldn’t trust Saudi Arabia with nuclear technology

Khashoggi’s Killing Should Be a Nuclear Red Flag,  The Saudis can’t be trusted to enrich uranium and reprocess spent fuel. WSJ, By Jamie Fly and Henry Sokolski,Oct. 28, 2018 If the Saudi government’s prevarications about Jamal Khashoggi’s murder teach us anything, it should be that there are limits to how far the U.S. can trust Riyadh. In particular, America shouldn’t trust Saudi Arabia with nuclear technology……….

the risk of regime change if there is nuclear power in Saudi Arabia. Nuclear reactors operate for 40 years or more and are far more dangerous than any conventional arms sales. In the 1970s, the U.S. considered selling the shah of Iran 23 reactors. That would have been a colossal mistake. Saudi officials, including Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, have publicly threatened to violate the Kingdom’s Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty commitment not to acquire nuclear weapons if they believe Iran is acquiring them. The U.S. has never negotiated a nuclear cooperation agreement with a country threatening to get nuclear weapons.

The United Arab Emirates, a Saudi neighbor and ally, agreed to allow intrusive international nuclear inspections and to forgo enriching uranium and reprocessing spent fuel as part of its 2009 nuclear cooperation agreement with Washington. Riyadh has refused to make such pledges.

Enriching and reprocessing could bring Riyadh within weeks of making bombs. It is unclear if the administration is intent on pressing the Saudis on this point……..

After Saudi Arabia’s kidnapping last year of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, its bungling of the war in Yemen, its erratic diplomatic moves against Canada, its continued jailing of human-rights activists, and now the killing of Khashoggi, Washington must demand more. This regime can’t be trusted with nuclear technology. Concluding a nuclear cooperation agreement to Riyadh’s liking would undermine the Trump administration’s effort to reverse the nuclear concessions President Obama made to Iran and set a dangerous precedent in the region.

Any negotiations regarding a U.S.-Saudi nuclear cooperation agreement should be halted. If the Trump administration refuses to do this, Congress should make clear, as part of its broader response to the Khashoggi killing, that any agreement submitted for review will be blocked.

This episode should serve as a reminder that unreliable proxies are no substitute for American leadership. A Reaganesque approach to Iran requires the fortitude to stand up for what is right, be it on nonproliferation or human rights, whether it involves friend or foe.

Mr. Fly is a senior fellow of the German Marshall Fund of the United States. Mr. Sokolski is executive director of the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center and author of “Underestimated: Our Not So Peaceful Nuclear Future.”


October 29, 2018 - Posted by | politics international, Saudi Arabia

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