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    Saudi Arabia will enrich its own uranium as part of a nuclear deal with the US and Israel

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, pictured with President Joe Biden, has reportedly asked experts to work with American negotiators on a deal. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP

    Israel is secretly working with the United States on plans to help Saudi Arabia enrich its own uranium as part of a broader deal that would see Riyadh normalize relations with the Jewish state.

    < p>Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has tasked the country's top nuclear safety and security experts with working with U.S. negotiators to secure an agreement, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.

    The proposal would see Saudi Arabia become the second Middle Eastern country to openly enrich uranium after arch-rival Iran. Israel is also widely suspected of having its own nuclear weapons program, although it remains shrouded in secrecy as part of a policy of deliberate ambiguity.

    Secret talks on a potential normalization treaty between Israel and Saudi Arabia have been ongoing for many years, but they have accelerated significantly in recent months after Saudi Arabia secured a US-led nuclear program as part of the agreement.

    Any uranium enrichment in Saudi Arabia would be part of a peaceful nuclear program with plenty of safeguards, the Wall Street Journal reports, citing Israeli sources.

    The proposal has already caused controversy in Israel, where opposition leaders are strongly opposed proliferation of nuclear weapons in the Middle East – even for such a potential future ally as Saudi Arabia.

    “The agreement to normalize relations with Saudi Arabia is a long-awaited thing. . But not at the cost of allowing the Saudis to develop nuclear weapons. Not at the expense of a nuclear arms race in the Middle East,” Yair Lapid, the leader of the Israeli opposition, said on Thursday.

    This came after Mohammed bin Salman, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, gave an interview to Fox News, in in which he gave positive signals about the normalization of the situation in Israel and warned about the dangers associated with the development of nuclear weapons in Iran.

    Crown Prince Mohammed. Bin Salman Profile

    Asked about Iran's nuclear weapons program, the Saudi leader warned that “we'll have to get it” if Tehran succeeds in building a bomb.

    And he suggested Saudi Arabia was backing down. closer “every day” to normalizing relations with Israel, which would be the biggest breakthrough for Middle East diplomacy in a generation.

    “Every day we are getting closer [to an agreement],” he said, but also stressed that Israel would need to take steps to resolve the conflict with the Palestinians as part of any deal.

    Riyadh is believed to be seeking significant concessions from Israel on the Palestinian issue, although Saudi officials remain silent. on what that might be.

    One potential scenario would be a permanent freeze on Israeli settlement construction in the occupied West Bank, but that would likely be politically impossible for Mr. Netanyahu's far-right government.

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