Now that Iran has a nuclear program, other Middle East countries want nuclear power—potentially resulting in a nuclear arms race in the region, the New York Times reported April 15. “Two years ago, the leaders of Saudi Arabia told international atomic regulators that they could foresee no need for the kingdom to develop nuclear power. Today, they are scrambling to hire atomic contractors, buy nuclear hardware and build support for a regional system of reactors,” the newspaper said. “Turkey is preparing for its first atomic plant and Egypt has announced plans to build one on its Mediterranean coast. In all, roughly a dozen states in the region have recently turned to the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna for help in starting their own nuclear program.”
“The rules have changed. Everybody’s going for nuclear programs,” King Abdullah II of Jordan was quoted as saying recently to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz. While all the governments say they want nuclear power for peaceful purposes, they also allude to other reasons. At a meeting of Arab leaders in March, officials from 21 governments in and around the Middle East warned that Iran’s drive for atomic technology could result in the beginning of “a grave and destructive nuclear arms race in the region.” (Xinhua, April 15)
See our last posts on nuclear proliferation, Iran, Egypt, Turkey and Saudi Arabia.
Nuclear scandal in Egypt
From the NYT, April 18:
Nuclear-free Middle East
From Toward Freedom, April 19: