Saudis Wants Biden to Help Nuclearize Country as Part of Defense Deal

Saudi political leaders urge leftists to support the country’s nuclear program as part of a larger “security” deal that could eventually include a path to normalizing relations with Israel Reuters reported on Monday that it is putting pressure on President Joe Biden’s administration.

Discussions about supporting Riyadh’s nuclear development and possibly building a nuclear reactor and uranium enrichment capacity reportedly took place during National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan’s visit to Saudi Arabia and Israel this weekend. Sullivan met with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Sunday to discuss the “strategic relationship” between Washington and Riyadh and the “near final version of the draft strategic agreement” between the two countries, according to the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Mr. Sullivan then traveled to Israel to further discuss these agreements with local officials.

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The White House described the ongoing agreement with Saudi Arabia as part of a “comprehensive vision for a united Middle East region” and hinted at a possible agreement on Saudi-Israeli relations.

Reuters Quote An anonymous “senior US official” told the media on Tuesday that the latest version of the “strategic” agreement with Saudi Arabia “includes a civilian nuclear element.”

Reuters reported that “a senior official said on Tuesday that the deal includes U.S. civil nuclear cooperation with Saudi Arabia that will be structured in a ‘rigorous manner’ by nonproliferation experts.”

The official is not optimistic that Saudi Arabia will sign the deal anytime soon.

“It’s not over. Nobody here would say this is just around the corner,” the anonymous “official” was quoted as saying.

saudi news agency al arabiyaIt said the draft agreement could include Riyadh’s purchase of “advanced F-35 fighter jets and other weapons,” citing some of the Reuters reports. It conveyed similar information regarding Saudi Arabia’s interest in supporting the United States in its nuclear program.

The Saudi foreign ministry itself was less forthcoming, insisting that the crown prince had spoken to Sullivan about strengthening ties “in a variety of areas” and that there were few details.

Regarding the ongoing war between Israel and the Iranian-backed jihadist terrorist group Hamas, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that Prime Minister Sullivan and Prime Minister Mohammed bin Salman have “reviewed their respective approaches to the Palestinian issue and strengthened their confidence toward a two-state solution.” He said he had found a way to do so. It is a way to meet the aspirations of the Palestinian people and their legitimate rights. ”

“They also discussed the latest developments in the region, including the situation in Gaza, and the need to stop the war and facilitate the reception of humanitarian aid,” the Saudi government statement concluded.

Reuters described the draft agreement as part of a larger plan by the Biden administration to prevent Saudi Arabia from relying on China for arms purchases and other security needs. Relations with Saudi Arabia have deteriorated dramatically under the Biden administration, presenting a major opportunity for America’s adversaries such as China, as the US president has vowed to transform the Middle Eastern country into a global power.untouchables” during the 2020 presidential campaign.

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Biden has actively acted against Saudi interests and “attack” Emboldened Saudi Arabia’s chief geopolitical rival, Iran, through arms sales and a huge financial windfall, to remove the Yemeni terrorist group Ansarullah, commonly known as the Houthis, from the State Department’s list of foreign terrorist organizations. The Houthis have long posed a border threat to Saudi Arabia, sometimes attempting to bomb Saudi oil facilities.

Despite Biden’s policy decisions, as recently as September, Mohammed bin Salman suggested that an agreement to normalize relations with Israel was on the horizon, likely with US support. . In an interview with Fox News in September, the Crown Prince said that the “resolution” of the “Palestinian issue” was the biggest obstacle to normalizing diplomatic relations with Israel, but that the Saudi government said, “Once it is resolved, life will become easier.” I hope so.” Among the Palestinians, get Israel as a player in the Middle East. ” It is noteworthy that Bin Salman did not mention the establishment of a Palestinian state as a requirement for Israel to establish diplomatic relations with his country.

The Saudi government has openly expressed its interest in nuclear development for more than a decade. Before Mohammed bin Salman became crown prince and de facto ruler of the country, Saudi officials issued A 2010 Royal Decree states that nuclear energy is “essential to meeting the Kingdom’s growing energy needs.” In 2016, the Chinese Communist Party signed an agreement with Saudi Arabia to help develop the reactor, promising it would start operating in 2022, but that never happened. A year later, Saudi authorities announced plans to significantly increase domestic nuclear production.

Chinese President Xi Jinping (left) is welcomed by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud (right) at Yamama Palace in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on December 8, 2022. (Saudi Arabian Royal Family/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

During former US President Donald Trump’s term in office, reports suggested the White House was interested in supporting Saudi Arabia’s nuclear ambitions, with at least one report claiming in 2019 that the Saudi government was “one year” away from operating its first nuclear reactor.

However, none of these projects came to fruition. China’s nuclear reactors never came online. As of December, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) declared that Saudi Arabia has no functioning nuclear reactors. However, IAEA Director-General Rafael Grossi said in late 2023 that the first reactor, built with Argentina’s aid, was “almost complete”.

“Of course, from the moment the Saudis have a research reactor, they need to have a comprehensive safeguards agreement in place, so there are some regulatory aspects that need to be taken care of,” Grossi said. .

Saudi Arabia has long maintained that it is only interested in peaceful nuclear development, but warned that any progress on Iran’s illegal nuclear weapons program would change the status quo.

“If Iran develops a nuclear bomb, there is no doubt that we will follow suit as soon as possible,” Mohammed bin Salman told CBS News in 2018.

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