In a letter sent Thursday, 27 nuclear and Middle East experts urged President Joe Biden not to allow Saudi Arabia to have a uranium enrichment program.
The document, obtained by Axios, comes while Saudi Arabia is requesting the program as part of a potential peace deal between it and Israel that the Biden administration is working to broker.
“We urge you to reject the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s request for uranium enrichment as part of or separate from a normalization agreement between Saudi Arabia and Israel,” the experts wrote.
The prospects of a nuclear Saudi Arabia, they argued, could pose an existential threat to the United States and its allies’ interests in the region.
Signatories included leading nuclear expert David Albright, former International Atomic Energy Agency Deputy Directors General Olli Heinonen and Pierre Goldschmidt, and former acting Israeli national security adviser Jacob Nagel.
Despite hesitation expressed by those in the letter, The Wall Street Journal reported earlier in the day that the Israeli government is not necessarily opposed to allowing Saudi Arabia to enrich uranium as part of a deal.
Anonymous U.S. and Israeli officials told The Journal that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu directed top nuclear and security specialists to cooperate with negotiators on the subject.
“Israeli support for Saudi enrichment would represent a radical policy shift for a country that has opposed nuclear proliferation in the Middle East since inception, and for a prime minister who has devoted his career to opposing Iranian enrichment,” Foundation for the Defense of Democracies CEO Mark Dubowitz stated.
Dubowitz’s group, along with the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center, helped organize the Thursday letter in opposition to the prospects of a nuclear Saudi Arabia.
Luca Cacciatore ✉
Luca Cacciatore, a Newsmax general assignment writer, is based in Arlington, Virginia, reporting on news and politics.
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