Israel presents red lines on Saudi nuclear aspirations

Israeli officials reportedly trying to reach understandings with Washington on sale of nuclear reactor to Saudi Arabia.

Ben Ariel,

Donald Trump and Saudi King Salman
Donald Trump and Saudi King Salman
Reuters

Israel presented the Trump administration with its red lines regarding the deal being finalized for the sale of nuclear reactors from the U.S. to Saudi Arabia, Channel 10 News reported on Sunday.

According to the report, officials in Jerusalem understood that they would not be able to thwart the deal due to the fact that it will bring billions of dollars in profit to the U.S., so they decided to reach understandings with the Americans on the issue.

Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz (Likud), who is also in charge of the Atomic Energy Commission, met in Washington with Energy Secretary Rick Perry, who is conducting negotiations with the Saudis, and told him that Israel wants to prevent uranium enrichment in Saudi Arabia, know all the details of the deal in advance and hold preliminary consultations on the planned location of the nuclear reactors in Saudi Arabia.

In addition, according to Channel 10, Israel also sought full coordination and transparency regarding the negotiations with the Saudis, and also requested that the U.S. provide all the fuel to the nuclear reactors in Saudi Arabia. Israel also requested that the Americans remove all the nuclear fuel used from Saudi Arabia so that it would not be reprocessed.

The Saudi kingdom earlier this year declared its intentions to pursue a non-military nuclear program, with plans to build 16 nuclear power plants over the next quarter century, in a bid to modernize the country’s infrastructure and reduce its own consumption of gasoline, freeing up more for export.

The kingdom later made headlines when Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told CBS that his country was prepared to pursue nuclear weapons if Iran is successful in obtaining an atomic arsenal.

Following the reports, however, a Saudi journalist with ties to the royal family, Louai a-Sharif, released a video statement aimed at Israelis and delivered in Hebrew.

In the video statement, a-Sharif said that any potential nuclear weapons program in his country would be pursued only as a matter of self-defense, suggesting – while refusing to specify it by name – that Iran, not Israel, would be the target of a potential Saudi atomic weapons program.


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