King of Jordan accuses Israel of 'underhand' plot to thwart nuclear project

Jordan's King Abdullah II has accused Israel of making "underhand" efforts to prevent the Middle Eastern country from developing a peaceful nuclear energy programme.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, King Abdullah said Israel had sought to persuade countries such as France and South Korea not to sell Jordan the nuclear technology it needs to develop its own civilian nuclear power industry.

"There are countries, Israel in particular, that are more worried about us being economically independent than the issue of nuclear energy, and have been voicing their concerns," King Abdullah said. "There are many such reactors in the world and a lot more coming, so [the Israelis should] go mind their own business."

King Abdullah, a vital ally of Israel in a largely hostile Middle East, warned that Israeli meddling in its nuclear ambitions had helped plunge relations between the two countries to their lowest point since a peace agreement was signed in 1994.

Israel, universally thought to have developed its own nuclear weapons, has long voiced its fears of a nuclear arms race in the Middle East triggered by the threat of Iran's atomic ambitions. The United Nations and the West suspect Iran of pursuing nuclear weapons under the guise of a civilian energy programme.

Jordan discovered huge deposits of uranium ore in 2007, giving the kingdom a tantalising glimpse of what an energy future free of dependence on costly oil imports might look like. Under an ambitious new energy strategy, Jordan envisages that nuclear energy will meet 30 per cent of its energy needs by 2030.

Crucially, Amman has won backing for its nuclear ambitions from Washington, which is seeking to promote the civilian use of atomic energy. Jordan is currently working out a nuclear cooperation deal with the US that would see American companies bring technology and know-how to Jordan.

The deal has been thrown into jeopardy, however, because the US does not want Jordan to produce its own nuclear fuel, the newspaper reported.

The accord would not prevent Jordan from mining the uranium, but it would not be allowed to convert it to fuel.

Jordanian officials have argued that the kingdom, a signatory of the nuclear nonproliferation treaty, has the right to produce the reactor fuel that would help shore up the country's economy.

King Abdullah argued that Jordan's model to involve private companies in the project would allay international concerns, and set an example for other countries. Besides Iran, both Syria and Israel have tried to block external scrutiny of their nuclear capabilities.

"I believe nuclear energy in Jordan will be done in such a way where it is a public-private partnership so everyone can see exactly what's going on," King Abdullah said. "If we can be the model of transparency, it will push others."

A spokesman from the Israeli Prime Minister's office declined to comment on the Jordanian claims.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
Ramsay Bolton in Game of Thrones
tvSeries 5, Episode 3 review
News
peoplePair enliven the Emirates bore-draw
News
British theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking
people
News
Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Ed Miliband (R) and Boris Johnson, mayor of London, talk on the Andrew Marr show in London April 26
General electionAndrew Marr forced to intervene as Boris and Miliband clash on TV
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
  • Get to the point
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Systems Administrator - Hull - £32,000

£30000 - £32000 per annum + £4200 car allowance: Ashdown Group: 3rd Line Suppo...

Recruitment Genius: Hotel Reception Manager

£18750 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Hotel in Chadderton is a popular ch...

Recruitment Genius: Designer

£32969 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is going through a period o...

Recruitment Genius: Data Engineer

£35000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Data Engineer is required to ...

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence