US must share civil nuke tech with Saudis: Perry

Energy secretary says US should get ahead before Russia or China builds civil nuclear capability in the Kingdom
NEW YORK: It should be the U.S. leading any nuclear technology energy projects in Saudi Arabia, instead of countries that have no requirement of nonproliferation, the U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry said on Thursday.
“Our choices, at this particular point in time, it appears to me either Russia or China is going to be a partner in building civil nuclear capability in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, or the United States,” he said.
“I’m very confident that the prior two have no requirements of nonproliferation,” Perry told the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is in the U.S. for diplomatic relations, told the CBS television channel last week that the Kingdom would develop nuclear weapons if its regional rival Iran does the same.
“Saudi Arabia does not want to acquire any nuclear bomb, but without a doubt if Iran developed a nuclear bomb, we will follow suit as soon as possible,” he said March 15 to CBS in an exclusive interview.
Senator Gary Peters, a Democrat from the state of Michigan, also warned Perry that aiding the Riyadh government would not send a proper message to the world.
“I think it would set a horrible precedent to allow Saudi Arabia to begin enriching uranium, and perhaps at higher levels, at the same time we may be getting close to the JCPOA expiring,” he said durign the Committee meeting.
The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) that was signed on July 2015 heavily restricted Iran to enrich uranium and put the country under strict monitoring for its nuclear program.
In return, Tehran received relief from western economic sanctions that its vital to revive its economy.
President Donald Trump, however, said numerous times in the past that he could withdraw the U.S. from the Iran nuclear deal and reimpose the sanctions on the country.
“If Russia, China are who are going to be chosen to do the civil nuclear projects in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, there will be no oversight,” Perry said.
Peters argued that the U.S. should hold Saudi Arabia to the same standards that the U.S. holds every country in the world for nuclear technology.
“We need to really push to make sure that they also agree to the gold standard,” Peters said.–AA

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