Despite Saudi Arabia has announced plans to enrich uranium, Saudi Foreign Minister said this Wednesday that Iran must give up its nuclear program.
Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir said this Wednesday that Iran should relinquish its nuclear program because it violates international agreements.
In an interview with CNBC news in the sideline of the World Economic Forum in Davos, al-Jubeir asserted that “I believe that Iran has an obligation to give up its nuclear program. I believe that Iran must be in compliance with the terms of the International Atomic Energy Agency and Iran, if it wants to be a member in good standing of the international community needs to respect international law, needs to respect international order.”
It was in November last year that the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog confirmed in a report Iran’s announcement that it was enriching uranium to 60% purity at its Fordow plant and planning major expansion of its enrichment capacity.
Following the report, the International Atomic Energy Agency chief Rafael Grossi raised the alarm that “only countries making bombs are enriching uranium at Iran’s level — that’s just one technical step away from weapons grade, which is 90% purity”.
This is while Iran has always categorically denied any intention to build nuclear weapons and has accused the IAEA of exaggeration and unreal reports while inspecting Iran’s nuclear program.
Instead, Iranian officials have continuously maintained that their nuclear program is exclusively for peaceful purposes as the country badly needs to diversify its energy sources and wee its dependence on oil and gas. Nuclear is a carbon-free source of energy that is much more powerful than non-renewable energy sources such as oil, gas, and coal.
Taking into consideration the growing problem of climate change, nuclear energy becomes even more vital for countries to produce electricity with the least amount of pollution production.
Saudis in pursuit of what they ban for Iran!
Despite the Saudi officials assert that Iran should give up its nuclear program, the Kingdom is already looking for importing the technology and enrich uranium.
In fact, the Kingdom has identified two possible sites for nuclear power stations, on the Gulf coast at Umm Huwayd and Khor Duweihin. Plans for small reactors for desalination are also well advanced. Saudi Arabia invited South Korea in May to join the bid for the construction of its first-ever nuclear power plants, worth over $10 billion.
South Korea is among the four countries, including France, China and Russia, which received the invitation letter for the tender of two nuclear reactors with an electricity generation capacity of 1.4 gigawatts each. This past December, Russia too, officially expressed its interest for the construction of the first nuclear power plant in Saudi Arabia.
It was last week on Wednesday that Saudi Arabia’s energy minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said that his country plans to use domestically-sourced uranium to build up its nuclear power industry and use nuclear power to diversify its energy mix.
He said during a mining industry conference in Riyadh that the plan would involve “the entire nuclear fuel cycle which involves the production of yellowcake, low enriched uranium and the manufacturing of nuclear fuel both for our national use and of course for export”.
Last but not least, Iran has never said it would build nuclear weapons. The irony, however, is that while Saudi Arabia is concerned that Iran might produce atomic bomb, it has clearly and publicly announced its intention to even build nuclear weapons under certain circumstances. It was back in 2018 that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said the kingdom would develop nuclear weapons if regional rival Iran did.