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Israel Attempts to Limit Saudi Arabia’s Nuclear Power

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According to Yuval Steinitz, Israel would not accept Saudi Arabia’s attempt to fasten nuclear power deals with US that is called “gold standard.” Regarding the standard, Riyadh is banned to enrich uranium or reprocess spent nuclear fuel to extract plutonium.

Once you allow one country to enrich uranium or reprocess fuel, it will be extremely difficult to tell other countries in this vicinity or elsewhere in the world not to do so. By relaxing the limits you deteriorate the non-proliferation effort, so I am confident the Americans would listen to our concern.

There was cooperation on nuclear energy between the US and Saudi Arabia during Obama presidency, but Trump has authorized his Energy Secretary to work with the Saudis on a civilian nuclear agreement.

Steinitz said that Israel would support Saudis in nuclear power only if they follow the gold standard protections and buy uranium from the US. However, Israel is the only possessor of nuclear weapons in the Middle East, and has been condemned by its own nuclear experts on selling Saudi Arabia information for developing nuclear weapons.

Despite the improved relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia in recent years over opposition to Iran, Israel is concerned about another power with nuclear capabilities in the region. The concerns continued as the US and Saudi Arabia had negotiations over making reactors in the kingdom.

Saudi Arabia said that if the negotiations with the US fails, it would turn to other international partners. It has some initial talks with several countries such as Russia, China and South Korea.

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