Iran's foreign minister denounced on Wednesday what he framed as "U.S. hypocrisy" following a report from House Democrats accusing the Trump administration of pushing to build—while skirting federal law, ethics concerns, and Congressional review—dozens of nuclear reactors across Saudi Arabia.
Javad Zarif, a key figure in achieving the historic nuclear deal, wrote in a tweet that the alleged push to sell the kingdom nuclear technology, as well as the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, made it increasingly clear that "neither human rights nor a nuclear program have been the real concern of the U.S."
Day by day it becomes clearer to the world what was always clear to us: neither human rights nor a nuclear program have been the real concern of the U.S. First a dismembered journalist; now illicit sale of nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia fully expose #USHypocrisy.— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) February 20, 2019
According to the report prepared for the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, headed by Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), the administration's effort may be ongoing. It says "experts worry that transferring sensitive U.S. nuclear technology could allow Saudi Arabia to produce nuclear weapons that contribute to the proliferation of nuclear arms throughout an already unstable Middle East."
"The whistleblowers who came forward," the report says, "have expressed significant concerns about the potential procedural and legal violations connected with rushing through a plan to transfer nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia. They have warned of conflicts of interest among top White House advisers that could implicate federal criminal statutes." The committee also wrote to acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney to demand documents related to its probe.
Speaking about the revelations to Democracy Now! on Wednesday, fellow committee member Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) said that "even when we transfer nuclear technology to allies... it requires years of process. It requires the consultation of Congress. Here you're talking about the potential sale of nuclear secrets to the Saudis, who aren't an ally, who have engaged in the proliferation of weapons that are being used against our own troops, and there is no process for notification of Congress. And you have extensive reporting of people who gain—stand to gain billions of dollars from these investments."
Khanna—whose War Powers Resolution to stop U.S. support for the Saudi-led bombing campaign in Yemen passed the House last week—argued that what is driving the alleged sale is "financial interests. It's selling interests into the Saudis for money, and no concern for our security and no concern for the morality of the Saudis' policies."
Saudi Arabia has long been a key ally to the United States, despite its continually dismal record on human rights.