Democrats Warn Trump May Rush Nuclear Transfer To Saudis

WASHINGTON — US President Donald Trump is under the scanner a gain by lawmakers who said they were probing whether President Donald Trump is rushing to sell sensitive nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia to please corporate supporters who stand to profit handsomely.

A report by the the House Committee on Oversight and Reform said, “"These commercial entities stand to reap billions of dollars through contracts associated with constructing and operating nuclear facilities in Saudi Arabia— and apparently have been in close and repeated contact with President Trump and his administration to the present day."

The United States cannot legally transfer nuclear technology to countries without reaching Section 123 agreements, that provide assurances of peaceful energy use. IP3 International, a company whose subsidiary in 2016 listed retired Army lieutenant general Michael Flynn as an advisor. Is the leading proponent of building nuclear plants in Saudi Arabia. Flynn has briefly served Trump as his national security adviser before he resigned over lying about secret communications with Russia, for which he was convicted and is awaiting sentencing.

Trump administration in its very first week tried to rush through approval of IP3's bid to build nuclear plants in Saudi Arabia until a legal adviser ruled that Flynn had a conflict of interest, the committee said, citing whistle blowers. IP3's influence has apparently not ended, with the committee voicing alarm at a report by news site Axios that Trump personally met with representatives of the company among other firms just last week. Thomas Barrack, a businessman with long standing interests in Arab world and organized Trump's inauguration is another key proponent of transfers to Saudi Arabia.

A group of senators including Marco Rubio, a Republican of Florida, last year jointly appealed to Trump to freeze talks on a 123 agreement with Saudi Arabia, questioning the judgment of the kingdom's policymakers. Saudi Arabia has walked back from similar promises, although some experts believe Riyadh is talking tough largely to pressure Iran and that it is unlikely to seek nuclear weapons so long as it enjoys US security guarantees.

Nuclear Sale to Saudis Exposes ‘US Hypocrisy’: Iran

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has denounced Washington’s “hypocrisy” after reports said the administration of US President Donald Trump was seeking to advance the sale of nuclear power technology to Saudi Arabia.

“Day by day it becomes clearer to the world what was always clear to us: neither human rights nor a nuclear program have been the real concern of the US,” Zarif wrote on his official Twitter page on Wednesday.

Zarif also pointed to the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the hands of Saudi agents in October, saying it further exposed the US double standards for human rights.

“First a dismembered journalist; now illicit sale of nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia fully expose #USHypocrisy.”

The Trump administration came under fire for acting with equivocation in the wake of Khashoggi’s murder and after evidence showed the Riyadh government's role in his slaying.

Zarif‘s remarks came after a new report by a congressional committee revealed Tuesday that the Trump administration was trying to bypass the US Congress to transfer sensitive nuclear power technology to Saudi Arabia.

The House of Representatives' Oversight Committee, which compiled the report, said it was now “launching an investigation to determine whether the actions being pursued by the Trump Administration are in the national security interests of the United States or, rather, serve those who stand to gain financially as a result of this potential change in US foreign policy.”

“The Trump Administration’s interactions with Saudi Arabia have been shrouded in secrecy, raising significant questions about the nature of the relationship,” the 24-page report said.

It also said that efforts inside the White House to “rush” the transfer of “highly sensitive US nuclear technology” to Saudi Arabia were “in potential violation of the Atomic Energy Act and without review by Congress as required by law.”

The White House has not commented yet.

The report involved documents, emails and a number of concerns raised by former National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster, White House attorneys and whistleblowers within the Trump administration.

Back in May, Trump withdrew Washington from a landmark nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers and announced reimposition of the sanctions against Tehran that had been lifted as part of the agreement.

The US has also been pressuring the European signatories to the deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, to pull out of the JCPOA.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini has, however, said that the bloc is determined to preserve the "full implementation" of the deal, saying it was vital to European security and an effective guarantor of peace.

A few days after the US left the JCPOA, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told CBS that the kingdom would make nuclear weapons if Iran does so.

Iran has always said that it has no intention of developing nuclear arms and the peaceful nature of the Iranian nuclear program has repeatedly been confirmed by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).


Be Part of Quality Journalism

Quality journalism takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce and despite all the hardships we still do it. Our reporters and editors are working overtime in Kashmir and beyond to cover what you care about, break big stories, and expose injustices that can change lives. Today more people are reading Kashmir Observer than ever, but only a handful are paying while advertising revenues are falling fast.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.