News ID: 100107
Publish Date : 18 February 2022 - 22:11

IAEA Admits to Helping Saudi Arabia, Egypt

CAIRO (Dispatches) – The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has admitted to helping Saudi Arabia and Egypt develop their nuclear capabilities, in what is the first admission of such assistance being given to the two governments.
While the nuclear agency restricts some other countries, including Iran, from using nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, the head of the IAEA, Rafael Grossi, revealed the assistance on Thursday, while speaking at a conference in Saudi Arabia.
His comments came a month after Saudi Energy Minister, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman hinted at international help, telling the Future Minerals Summit in Riyadh that “we do have a huge amount of uranium resources that we would like to exploit.”
It was earlier thought that those partners consisted of only the likes of China – which has assisted Saudi Arabia in constructing a uranium ore facility almost two years ago – and other allies with knowledge on the development of nuclear capabilities.
There was some indication of the IAEA’s involvement, however, with Grossi and the Egyptian President having met in December to discuss enhancing cooperation in the field of nuclear security.
The assistance comes despite concerns over the issue seeking full details of contracts for nuclear cooperation with the kingdom.
Saudi Arabia’s nuclear ambitions have prompted worries in the global community over the past few years, especially after the Crown Prince hinted in 2018 that the kingdom may go for nukes.
Citing Western officials, The Wall Street Journal reported last August that Saudi Arabia, with Chinese help, has built a facility for extraction of yellowcake from uranium ore near the remote town of al-Ula.
The New York Times also said American intelligence agencies had spotted what appeared to be an undeclared nuclear site not too far from the Saudi town of al-Uyaynah.
Saudi Arabia’s former intelligence chief prince Turki al-Faisal also said in November last year that the kingdom should acquire the knowledge to develop a nuclear bomb in order to “defend” itself.
“I’ve publicly said in the past that we should do whatever is necessary, including acquiring the knowledge to develop a [nuclear] bomb, in order to defend ourselves,” al-Faisal said during an interview with MSNBC.
The prince made the remarks when asked whether the Saudis would develop nuclear weapons.
“I am not in the government to say what the government is going to do, but this is my personal opinion,” he added