Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Jordanian minister: Pursuit of nuclear energy program a ‘strategic option'

Jordanian minister: Pursuit of nuclear energy program a ‘strategic option'

Jordan signs nuclear cooperation agreement with Saudi Arabia, but still has not made final decision to build reactor.

Employees wearing protective suits and masks walk past storage tanks for radioactive water Photo: REUTERS
Mohammad al-Momani, the Jordanian Minister of State for Media Affairs, said on Tuesday that his government was investigating the “strategic option” of a “peaceful” nuclear program.

He said that Jordan currently imports around 97 percent of its energy needs at a cost of around $4 billion dollars and for this reason, the government seeks ways to promote domestic energy sources, the Jordanian newspaper Ad-Dustourreported on Wednesday.

While visiting the Jordan Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Momani said that Jordan still has not made a final decision to build a reactor, but is studying the matter.

Meanwhile, Jordan and Saudi Arabia signed a nuclear cooperation agreement in Amman on Wednesday to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

The agreement was signed by the Chairman of the Jordan Atomic Energy Commission, Khaled Toukan and Hashim Bin Abdullah Yamani, President of King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy in Saudi Arabia, according to a report in Jordan’s Al-Ghad.

Shi’ite Iran’s nuclear program has increased already high sectarian tensions with Sunni states in the region, seeming to play a significant part in their decisions to pursue their own.

Separately, Jordan’s army foiled an attempt to smuggle weapons, drugs, and cigarettes from Syria, Jordan’s Petra News reported Wednesday.

Jordan has been closely watching the security situation to its north in Syria, worried that fighters, weapons, and refugees, crossing into the country, could cause a security risk.

"The Jordanian Armed Forces will not tolerate anyone trying to harm the security of the homeland and the citizens and will strike with an iron fist and cut off the hand that extends to hurt or intimidate any citizen within the homeland's borders," an army source stated, according to Petra.

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