A report by the “Walla” media website, which is close to Israeli intelligence, said that Tel Aviv is concerned about cooperation between Saudi Arabia and China in the nuclear field, and Washington has informed this.
According to the report, senior Israeli intelligence officials called their American counterparts to express their “grave concern” about the cooperation between Riyadh and Beijing.
Israeli officials stated to the website, whose names were not disclosed, that the talk was about a secret factory of primitive materials used in uranium enrichment in Saudi Arabia near the capital, Riyadh.
The officials pointed out that the disclosure of this cooperation came in the media reports of “The Wall Street Journal” and “New York Times” earlier in the Americas, which contained satellite images of the aforementioned plant.
Comes a day after good @wsj story on subject. The story has additional details on site the Journal identifies as well as exclusive information about what intelligence agencies are currently examining.
– Mark Mazzetti (@MarkMazzettiNYT) August 6, 2020
The officials pointed out that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office deals with the file as being very sensitive politically, as Israel considers Saudi Arabia an important ally in the face of Iran.
The officials added that the Israeli intelligence services, the ministries of foreign affairs, intelligence and defense, and the Atomic Energy Commission are following the developments of what they described as the Saudi “nuclear program”, but the Prime Minister’s Office directed not to address this issue in any way.
“There are worrying indications, but it is not clear enough yet what exactly is going on in this facility,” Walla reported, quoting an Israeli official.
He added that this issue “is also unclear to the Americans and the International Atomic Energy Agency, and whether the agency intends to verify this.”
– Mark Mazzetti (@MarkMazzettiNYT) August 5, 2020
It is noteworthy that the supposed secret factory is for the manufacture of the so-called “yellow cake”, which is a raw material used in uranium enrichment, and its industry is not considered a violation of the NPT, and Saudi Arabia is not obligated to inform the IAEA.
But the “Walla” report indicates that this may be the first step towards launching an independent nuclear program, and it is likely that this will develop into a military nuclear program in the future.
According to the assessments of Israeli officials, Saudi Arabia has established cooperation with China, because the Chinese did not ask it to guarantee that the program would be purely civilian, which is what the United States always demands.