Levin, Amash say Saudi Arabia must not be allowed to build a nuclear bomb

March 1, 2019
In The News

WASHINGTON — A bipartisan pair of Michigan congressmen are proposing to limit any nuclear deal between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia to make sure it doesn't lead to a bomb.

U.S. Reps. Andy Levin, D-Bloomfield Township, and Justin Amash, R-Cascade Township, introduced a resolution Thursday calling for any deal the Trump administration may be pursuing with the Saudis to include the highest nonproliferation standard possible.

"We cannot allow a civilian nuclear deal with Saudi Arabia to create a pathway to a nuclear bomb, period," Levin said. "Recent events, including the horrific murder of Jamal Khashoggi, have made it all the more clear why we must insist on the highest possible nonproliferation standard."

The House resolution mirrors one already introduced in the Senate by Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore. Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist, was murdered inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last year. 

In February, the House Committee on Oversight and Reform released a report indicating that Trump administration officials had pushed for a plan to build nuclear power plants in Saudi Arabia despite concerns that doing so could violate federal law.

The committee report suggested some people involved in the effort were interested in financial gain.

The transfer of nuclear technology is typically approved through a closely regulated process and a nuclear cooperation agreement signed off on by Congress. 

Levin, who is a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said that if such a deal is developed, it must include rules that prohibit Saudi Arabia from enriching uranium or separating plutonium or any other activities that could result in weapons-grade material.