Saudis Seek US Assistance For Nuclear Program Amid Shifting Middle East Dynamics

Saudi Arabia has initiated discussions with the Biden administration regarding the development of a nuclear program, as part of broader security negotiations that may include normalizing ties with Israel, according to Reuters.

The talks reportedly took place during National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan’s recent visit to Saudi Arabia and Israel. Sullivan met with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to discuss strategic relations between the two countries and finalize draft agreements.

While details of the discussions remain undisclosed, a senior U.S. official revealed that the proposed agreement includes provisions for civilian nuclear cooperation with Saudi Arabia, overseen by nonproliferation experts.

However, the official expressed skepticism about the imminent signing of the deal, cautioning that it is not yet finalized.

Reports indicate that the potential agreement could also involve the purchase of advanced F-35 fighter jets and other weaponry by Saudi Arabia. The Saudi Foreign Ministry confirmed discussions aimed at enhancing bilateral ties across various sectors but provided limited specifics.

In addition to security concerns, the negotiations also addressed regional issues, including the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas. The parties discussed efforts to facilitate humanitarian aid and advance towards a two-state solution for the Palestinian issue.

Reuters suggests that the proposed deal aligns with the Biden administration’s strategy to dissuade Saudi Arabia from seeking arms and security assistance from China, amid strained relations between Washington and Riyadh.

Despite recent tensions, Saudi Arabia has expressed interest in nuclear development for over a decade, citing the need to meet the country’s growing energy demands. Previous attempts, including partnerships with China, have not materialized into functional reactors.

The potential for Saudi Arabia to pursue nuclear capabilities raises concerns about regional stability, particularly in light of Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Saudi officials have previously warned of mirroring Iran’s nuclear advancements if necessary, highlighting the complex dynamics at play in the Middle East.

Please leave your comment below!