Khashoggi’s Murder Raises Nuclear Red Flag on U.S. Nuke Exports to Riyadh
By Jamie Fly & Henry Sokolski
As Congress ponders whether to reduce U.S. arms sales to the Saudi Kingdom in response to Jamal Khashoggi’s murder, it's time to consider a much more explosive export — controlled U.S. nuclear energy technology.
40 years ago, the U.S. nearly agreed to sell the Shah of Iran 23 reactors. We need to make sure that history won’t rhyme with our current nuclear romance with Riyadh.
As Jamie Fly, with the German Marshall Fund, and I argue in a Wall Street Journal piece, “Khashoggi’s Killing Should Be a Nuclear Red Flag,” Congress and our government should just say no:
When asked recently if the administration would insist that Riyadh legally forswear enriching and reprocessing, officials only promised to get as strict an agreement “as possible." After Saudi Arabia’s kidnapping last year of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, its bungling of the war in Yemen, its erratic diplomatic moves against Canada, its continued jailing of human-rights activists, and now the killing of Khashoggi, Washington must demand more. This regime can’t be trusted with nuclear technology. . . . Any negotiations regarding a U.S.-Saudi nuclear cooperation agreement should be halted. If the Trump administration refuses to do this, Congress should make clear, as part of its broader response to the Khashoggi killing, that any agreement submitted for review will be blocked.
Of course, many believe controlled U.S. exports for large nuclear reactors are just another way to make money. They are not -- think nuclear bomb starter kits. More important, the Saudis, including Mohammed bin Salman, have warned that they will violate their Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty pledges if they conclude Iran has gotten the bomb. They've also rejected requests to submit to upgraded international nuclear inspections as their neighbor, the United Arab Emirates, already has.
This is a prescription for mischief far greater than any weapons sales. Our government should take the Saudi nuclear deal off the table.
Click here to read the latest Wall Street Journal piece.