Tue, 26 Mar 2019

U.S. Congress exploring Trump ties to Saudi-nuclear plans

By Jay Jackson, Spain News
20 Feb 2019, 10:49 GMT+10

WASHINGTON DC - A U.S. Congressional committee is exploring whether the Trump administration is planning to provide Saudi Arabia with highly sensitive technology to assist it in developing a network of nuclear power plants.

The U.S. has been vehement in its treatment of Saudi nemesis Iran, imposing harsh sanctions which have bought that country to its knees - partly on the basis that Iran is on a path towards developing nuclear weapons, a charge it denies.

The United States is also an avid supporter of Israel which has developed nuclear weapons since as far back as at least the 1960s, but has never admitted publicly to doing so.

The United States has also been supportive of a 'nuclear weapons- free Middle East.'

So the news it is planning to assist Saudi Arabia with building nuclear plants and to provide the Saudis with 'highly sensitive' nuclear technology has not gone down well with lawmakers.

The House Oversight committee opened an investigation on Tuesday into the Trump administration's plans.

The committee issued a 24-page interim report that details claims by whistleblowers that a U.S.-Saudi joint venture is in the works, and that if true it will result in the creation of a network of nuclear power plants in Saudi Arabia which, the report claims, would threaten U.S. national security.

There was concern in the capital on Tuesday when it was learned a meeting last week at the White House focused on the issue. Also raising eyebrows was the news that President Donald Trump's son-in-law and senior advisor Jared Kushner is planning to travel to Saudi Arabia next week.

The Oversight Committee has written to the White House requesting all relevant documents including emails from the administration's former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, who appears was advancing the proposal during his tenure.

The committee said the plan continued to be developed after Flynn left the White House.

The report says other senior Trump officials ignored legal advisors and ethics experts "who repeatedly and unsuccessfully ordered senior Trump Administration officials to halt their efforts," the report says.

"Further investigation is needed to determine whether the actions being pursued by the Trump Administration are in the national security interest of the United States or, rather, serve those who stand to gain financially as a result of this potential change in U.S. foreign policy," the interim report said.

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