Tuesday, 11 August, 2020

Iran urges IAEA to probe ‘non-transparent’ Saudi nuclear program

Iran’s permanent representative to Vienna-based international organizations has called on the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to investigate Saudi Arabia’s “secret” nuclear activities, warning that the international community will not tolerate any “deviation” from a peaceful nuclear program.

Kazem Gharibabadi made the remarks on Saturday after reports emerged about suspected attempts by the Riyadh regime to process uranium and move toward the development of atomic bombs.

“Although Saudi Arabia is a member of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and has a comprehensive bilateral safeguard agreement in place with the IAEA, it still refuses to abide by its commitments to the agency’s inspections,” he said, adding that the kingdom is developing and implementing “a very non-transparent” nuclear program.

Gharibabadi also noted that Saudi Arabia has no active research reactor to make it capable of producing yellowcake - a semi-processed form of uranium that is the crucial ingredient for both nuclear power reactors and atomic bombs.

“This issue, along with covert Saudi measures in the nuclear field, its denial of access to IAEA inspectors, and destabilizing activities in the region, raises concerns about a secret nuclear weapons program in the country,” he pointed out.

Citing Western officials, The Wall Street Journal reported last week 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 said American intelligence agencies had spotted what appeared to be an undeclared nuclear site not too far from the town of al-Uyaynah, located 30 kilometers northwest of the Saudi capital of Riyadh, and its Solar Village.

The agencies, the report said, are scrutinizing attempts by the kingdom to build up ability to produce nuclear fuel that could potentially lead to the development of nuclear weapons.

The Iranian envoy said governments and the IAEA should make it clear to Saudi Arabia that the international community will not accept any “deviation” from a peaceful nuclear program and will confront it.

“If Saudi Arabia seeks the peaceful use of nuclear energy, it must accept relevant IAEA commitments and act in full transparency,” he said, urging the UN nuclear agency to deliver a report to its member states regarding the kingdom’s “secret” nuclear program.

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