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US lawmakers introduce bill to stop Saudi Arabia from obtaining nuclear weapons

US lawmakers introduce bill to stop Saudi Arabia from obtaining nuclear weapons

Measure would stop ‘most US arms sales’ to the kingdom if it receives help in building nuclear facilities that do not meet IAEA standards, 
By MEE staff in Washington,

16 April 2021 A group of US lawmakers have introduced legislation that seeks to stop the possibility of Saudi Arabia obtaining a nuclear weapon, after reports surfaced last year that China had secretly assisted Riyadh to expand its nuclear programme.

The bill, titled, The Saudi WMD Act, aims to “take steps to impede access to sensitive technologies that could pave the way to Saudi Arabia acquiring a nuclear weapon”, according to a press release announcing the legislation on Thursday.

It was introduced in the Senate by senators Ed Markey and Jeff Merkley, and introduced in the House of Representatives by congressmen Ted Lieu and Joaquin Castro.

“Nuclear weapons in the hands of terrorists and rogue regimes is one of the gravest threats to the security of the American people and to our partners around the world,” Merkley said in a statement.

If Saudi Arabia is working to undermine the global nonproliferation and arms control regime, with the help of China or anybody else, the US must respond.” 

Markey said the bill “requires greater transparency into Saudi Arabia’s efforts to build out a ballistic missile and civilian nuclear program”.

If passed, the measure would require the Biden administration to determine whether any foreign person or country has transferred or exported to Saudi Arabia a Category One item under the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), an informal political understanding that aims to limit the amount of missile proliferation worldwide.

A Category One item would include unmanned aerial vehicle systems such as ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, and target drones that are capable of delivering a payload of at least 500kg to a range of at least 300km.

If such an entity is found, the bill would require the White House to sanction them.

The bill would also terminate “most US arms sales to Saudi Arabia”, if it was found that the kingdom received help in building a nuclear fuel cycle facility not under the standards set by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Saudi Arabia has not signed up to the same restrictions to nuclear proliferation that other countries have, and the country only has a limited safeguards agreement with the IAEA………….

Under the previous Donald Trump administration, the US had given several authorisations to American companies to share sensitive nuclear power information. https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/us-lawmakers-introduce-bill-stop-saudi-arabia-obtaining-nuclear-weapons

April 17, 2021 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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