As we feared, it was only a matter of time before the rumors of the US sharing nuclear technology with Saudi Arabia were confirmed with greater credibility. And here we are. According to a just-published Reuters article, U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry has approved six secret authorizations by companies to sell nuclear power technology and assistance to Saudi Arabia. This according to a copy of a document seen by Reuters on Wednesday.
The Trump administration has quietly pursued a wider deal on sharing U.S. nuclear power technology with Saudi Arabia, which aims to build at least two nuclear power plants. Several countries including the United States, South Korea and Russia are in competition for that deal, and the winners are expected to be announced later this year by Saudi Arabia.
Many U.S. lawmakers are concerned that sharing nuclear technology with Saudi Arabia could eventually lead to a nuclear arms race in the Middle East.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told CBS last year that the kingdom would develop nuclear weapons if its rival Iran did. In addition, the kingdom has occasionally pushed back against agreeing to U.S. standards that would block two paths to potentially making fissile material for nuclear weapons clandestinely: enriching uranium and reprocessing spent fuel.
What this means…given that Russia is supposedly bidding for the contract, chances are that Iran has been privy to these happenings all along. Given this news and in light of the half-hearted efforts by the EU to provide Iran with the anticipated economic benefits of staying in the JCPOA, Iranian hardliners and centrists alike will be inclined to pull out of the deal altogether.
If the Reuters report is correct, a nuclear arms race in the Middle East is officially upon us; which may be exactly what the US, Saudi Arabia, and Israel want — for Iran to pull out of the deal, (re)start their nuclear program and for western media outlets to sell this to the American public as a justifiable pretext for yet another US-led war against a Middle Eastern country.