Michele Kearney's Nuclear Wire

Major Energy and Environmental News and Commentary affecting the Nuclear Industry.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Report: US threatens to cut Jordan's aid. Arab media reports Washington demanding Amman coordinate uranium enrichment with Israel

The United States has threatened to cut financial aid to Jordan, if the Hashemite Kingdom continues to develop its nuclear program without coordinating with Israel, the Arab media reported on Monday.

The American threat comes after Amman rejected Israeli demands to participate in extraction and enrichment of uranium, and Jordan's failure to obtain US approval for its nuclear plan, despite talks between the two parties, which lasted six months.

According to reports, the ultimatum was probably given to Amman days after US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judah.

In 2007, at least 65, 000 tons of uranium ore was found in the Jordanian desert, making it one of the largest deposits in the world.

The Hashemite Kingdom has claimed its enrichment program was aimed at reducing dependency on petroleum imports. Ninety five percent of Jordan's energy consumption is supplied by other countries, mainly Saudi Arabia and Iraq.

The nuclear reactor would allow Jordan to produce a large amount of its own electricity and export power to its neighbors. However, the kingdom is dependent on American financial assistance, without which its economy will be severely damaged.

According to Jordanian Minister of Planning Jaafar Abdul Hassan, the United States has transferred Jordan some $665 million during the first half of the year, out of which $360 million was financial aid and $300 million military aid.

America's increased aid to Jordan is meant to help the country deal with financial and social problems, as well as help it strengthen national security.

Last month, King Abdullah accused Israel of blocking his country from achieving nuclear capabilities. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, the king said Israel was pressuring France and South Korea not to sell nuclear technologies to Jordan, and that its covert operations deteriorated the relations between the two countries to the lowest point they've been since the peace agreement was signed in 1994.

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