Six Arab States Join Rush to Go Nuclear

[Times-UK] Richard Beeston - The specter of a nuclear race in the Middle East was raised Friday when six Arab states announced they were embarking on programs to master atomic technology. The countries involved were named by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, and Saudi Arabia. Tunisia and the UAE have also shown interest. All want to build civilian nuclear energy programs. But the sudden rush to nuclear power has raised suspicions that the real intention is to acquire nuclear technology which could be used for the first Arab atomic bomb. Mark Fitzpatrick, an expert on nuclear proliferation at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, said that it was clear that the sudden drive for nuclear expertise was to provide the Arabs with a "security hedge." "If Iran was not on the path to a nuclear weapons capability you would probably not see this sudden rush [in the Arab world]," he said.

2006-11-06 01:00:00

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