Jordanian Nuclear-Energy Effort a ‘Strategic Option’: Official

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Global Security Newswire Staff
Jan. 22, 2014, 9:34 a.m.

A seni­or Jord­ani­an of­fi­cial said his na­tion would con­sider de­vel­op­ing a “peace­ful” nuc­le­ar-en­ergy pro­gram as a “stra­tegic op­tion,” the Jer­u­s­alem Post re­ports.

Mo­hammad al-Mo­mani, Jordan’s min­is­ter of state for me­dia af­fairs, said the gov­ern­ment is now im­port­ing roughly 97 per­cent of its en­ergy re­quire­ments at a cost of about $4 bil­lion. Of­fi­cials are in­ter­ested in atom­ic power as part of a bid to de­vel­op more do­mest­ic en­ergy sources, the Post re­por­ted, cit­ing a Wed­nes­day re­port in the Jord­ani­an news­pa­per Ad-Dus­tour.

Jordan and Saudi Ar­a­bia on Wed­nes­day inked a nuc­le­ar-trade pact in Am­man, ac­cord­ing to the re­port. The deal would al­low the two sides to co­oper­ate on the de­vel­op­ment of peace­ful atom­ic en­ergy.

Both of these Middle East­ern na­tions are con­cerned about neigh­bor­ing Ir­an’s ef­forts to de­vel­op civil nuc­le­ar power as a pos­sible foothold in build­ing a bomb, des­pite Tehran’s in­sist­ence that its in­ten­tions are peace­ful. This con­sid­er­a­tion may af­fect de­cisions in Am­man and Riy­adh re­gard­ing wheth­er and how to pur­sue atom­ic-en­ergy pro­grams of their own.

The U.S. gov­ern­ment has dis­cussed with Jordan the pos­sib­il­ity of seal­ing a bi­lat­er­al civil nuc­le­ar-co­oper­a­tion agree­ment. However, talks have been on hold for some time be­cause of in­stabil­ity in the re­gion, among oth­er po­ten­tial chal­lenges, ac­cord­ing to Wash­ing­ton of­fi­cials.

Mo­mani said that his na­tion still has not form­ally de­cided wheth­er to build a nuc­le­ar re­act­or, but the idea re­mains un­der con­sid­er­a­tion.

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