Jordan's King Bashes Israel for Stopping His Nuke Plans
King Abdullah of Jordan tells the Wall Street Journal that Israel is thwarting Jordan's nuclear goals in order to economically dwarf his country.
By Malkah Fleisher
First Publish: 6/15/2010, 11:07 PM / Last Update: 6/15/2010, 11:13 PM
In a tone bespeaking souring relations between Israel and its eastern neighbor, King Abdullah of Jordan is accusing Israel of thwarting Jordanian nuclear aspirations in order to economically dwarf the Hashemite Kingdom.
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In a biting interview with the Wall Street Journal, King Abdullah called Israel "underhanded" in efforts he says Israel is undertaking to ensure that nations will not supply Jordan with nuclear-related technology.
According to Abdullah, Israel has pressured France and South Korea not to sell nuclear technology such as generating reactors to Jordan, which says it is developing nuclear power for peaceful means.
Israel has denied Abdullah's accusation.
The United States has expressed support for Jordan's nuclear objectives, but disapproves of Jordan producing its own nuclear fuel. In 2007, Jordan discovered over 65,000 tons of uranium ore in the desert outside Amman, a significant find for a country 95% dependent on foreign oil and possessing paltry drinking water reserves. Even if it were to purchase reactor fuel elsewhere, Jordan would make major economic gains by producing and exporting nuclear energy.
However, the US and Israel maintain concerns over Jordanian atomic development. Israel has publicly expressed concern over Jordanian plans to build a research nuclear reactor in the port city of Aqaba. A seismic fault line lies nearby.
In the meantime, Abdullah has purchased a research reactor for one of Jordan's universities. He has also ordered his foreign minister to issue a formal reprimand to Israel's ambassador to Jordan in regard to Israel's alleged obstruction of Jordan's nuclear program.
Abdullah chose to focus on his belief that Israel's opposition to Jordanian nuclear power is a bid to keep his country down. "There are countries, Israel in particular, that are more worried about us being economically independent than the issue of nuclear energy, and have been voicing their concerns," King Abdullah told the Wall Street Journal. "There are many such reactors in the world and a lot more coming, so [the Israelis should] go mind their own business."