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New Bill in U.S. Congress would block a nuclear deal with Saudi Arabia

House Democrat to introduce new bill punishing Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi, It would block a controversial nuclear deal that’s very important to Saudi Arabia. Vox  By A House Democrat will soon introduce legislation to punish Saudi Arabia over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi — by trying to halt an impending nuclear deal with the country.

Obtained exclusively by Vox, the bill — nicknamed the “No Nuclear Weapons for Saudi Arabia Act of 2018” — if passed would be the strongest rebuke to Saudi Arabia yet since the uproar over Khashoggi’s fate.

Khashoggi, a US resident, was killed by Saudi officials inside the country’s consulate in Istanbul last month. That led to a major international outcry over his death, including from many in the US who wanted to see the Washington-Riyadh relationship curtailed.

Most of the discussions on how to do that center on stopping billions of dollars in arms sales to the kingdom, but President Donald Trump has repeatedly said he doesn’t want to jeopardize money coming into the United States, and some members of Congress privately worry that stopping weapons shipments to Saudi Arabia might negatively impact jobs.

So instead of doing that, Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) wants to stop a major nuclear deal between the US and Saudi Arabia that’s been under negotiation for months, and which he has long railed against.

“I don’t think this bill would’ve passed prior to the events in Istanbul,” Sherman told me. “Now I think we have a chance.” It’s also very possible a Republican will co-sponsor the bill when it’s officially introduced in the next 10 congressional days.

The legislation would do three main things:

  • Force Trump to submit a “123 Agreement,” or a set of rules that make it legal for the US to sell nuclear technology to another country, for congressional approval.
    • Force the administration to tell Congress that Saudi Arabia will abide by the agreement’s “Gold Standard” (more on that below) and an inspections agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency, the world’s nuclear watchdog
    • Require the administration to write reports on Saudi Arabia’s probe into Khashoggi’s murder and the state of human rights in the kingdom
    Sherman’s bill could completely block Saudi Arabia’s plans to obtain nuclear technology from the United States, especially since there’s growing bipartisan support to reprimand Riyadh over Khashoggi.

    It would come as a big blow to Saudi Arabia: Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the kingdom’s de facto ruler, more commonly known as MBS, launched a project on Monday to build his country’s first nuclear research reactor.

    There’s also some bipartisan support to stop nuclear talks with Riyadh in the Senate.

    Sens. Edward Markey (D-MA) and Marco Rubio (R-FL), for example, have sent letters to Trump requesting he at least suspend negotiations with Saudi Arabia over the nuclear deal. It’s unclear if either of them will draft parallel legislation to the House version, although a spokesperson for Rubio’s office told me the senator “possibly” could consider a bill in the future. …….

    American companies have already lined up to sell and build nuclear parts for Saudi Arabia,  …….

  • Saudi Arabia could accelerate a nuclear arms race in the Middle East

    There’s legitimate concern about what Riyadh would do with a brand new nuclear reactor if this indeed happens.

    On March 18, MBS openly admitted on CBS’s 60 Minutes that obtaining a nuke was a possibility……..

  • There are other signs that Saudi Arabia’s burgeoning nuclear program is really all about weapons — and not mainly for energy — like it repeatedly says. One possible indicator is that Riyadh has focused on nuclear energy and not renewable energy to bring power to its millions of citizens. …….

November 10, 2018 - Posted by | politics, politics international, Saudi Arabia, USA

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