Saudi Arabia counters Obama's nuclear deal with Iran
Saudi Arabia has furthered its nuclear energy initiative by going with the strong horse. In this case, Russia's State Corporation for Atomic Energy (Rosatom). The Arab News reports that the head of Rosatom, Sergei Kiriyenko, stands ready to assist with the Kingdom's program per an agreement signed last June with Hashem Abdullah Yamani, the President of King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (KACARE). According to the Arab News:
“The two leaders discussed various ways and means to enhance joint cooperation in the field of atomic energy within the framework of the nuclear agreement signed between the two countries in June," the official said.
The agreement was signed by Kiriyenko and Yamani during a summit on June 18th between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is also the Saudi Minister of Defense.
In many aspects, this kind of deal is the logical conclusion of Jimmy Carter's overreaction to the Three Mile Island accident, which put the US nuclear industry on the bench as a matter of public policy. And, as predicted by many diplomats, intelligence analysts, and nuclear experts, Obama's deal with the mullahs will have significant consequences in the region, while leaving the door open for former (?) adversaries to secure lucrative contracts.
The French have been the only Western nation to compete with Rosatom through its nuclear consortium, Areva Group. Both Rosatom and Areva offer the full range of services for the entire nuclear fuel cycle. The article notes that Saudi Arabia's KACARE has also partnered with the International Institute of Nuclear Energy (12EN), a French initiative to help those teamed with France to develop responsible nuclear energy programs.
It's time to acknowledge our horrendously flawed policies regarding nuclear energy has led to our withdrawal from the global competitive market with the exception of some teaming arrangements. Not only that, the US government's slavish obedience to outmoded counter-proliferation regimes has placed friend and foe alike in the same threat category. That is, we neither help our friends or counter our enemies. Ultimately, the proliferation of nuclear technology will have its own surge in the most dangerous region on Earth.
John Smith is the pen name of a former intelligence officer.