US lawmakers move against 'secret nuclear cooperation' with Saudi Arabia

US lawmakers move against 'secret nuclear cooperation' with Saudi Arabia
US lawmakers are asking for information about a covert nuclear deal with Saudi Arabia as concerns swell.
2 min read
03 April, 2019
The Trump administration is 'secretly' cooperating with Saudi Arabia on nuclear weapons [Getty]

United States senators are asking for more information about a secret nuclear deal with Saudi Arabia, as concerns spike over Riyadh’s “deeply troubling actions” in Yemen and the detention, torture and murder of dissidents.

Both Republican and Democrat Senators on Tuesday demanded information from Energy Secretary Rick Perry for details about a nuclear deal the Trump administration had reportedly been negotiating with Saudi Arabia, sparking fears the kingdom will seek nuclear weapons.

Saudi Arabia has engaged in “many deeply troubling actions and statements that have provoked alarm in Congress,” Senators Bob Menendez, a Democrat, and Marco Rubio, a Republican, told Perry in a letter, according to Reuters.

The concern came after media reports last week revealed that Perry had been approving US companies to share sensitive nuclear information with Saudi Arabia since November 2017.

The approvals were kept secret and hidden from Congress, sparking a backlash.

Saudi Arabia has snubbed standards on reprocessing spent fuel and uranium enrichment, both gateways used to building nuclear weapons.

Republican and Democrat lawmakers have expressed concern over the reports, along with Saudi Arabia flexing its military muscle through its perceived regional impunity in recent months.

The killing of prominent journalist Jamal Khashoggi last year raised further alarm bells in Washington and the rest of the world as to how far Riyadh is willing to go.

Saudi Arabia itself admitted to wanting to acquire nuclear weapons -- something analysts say is fuelling lawmakers’ concern of Saudi Arabia wanting nuclear weapons.

“Saudi Arabia does not want to acquire any nuclear bomb, but without a doubt if Iran developed a nuclear bomb, we will follow suit as soon as possible”, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told CBC last year.