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Jordanian minister says atomic energy a ‘strategic option’
By Ariel Ben Solomon
Jordan signs nuclear cooperation agreement with Saudi Arabia, but still has not made final decision to build reactor.

Jordan is considering a peaceful nuclear program as a “strategic option,” Minister of State for Media Affairs Muhammad al-Momani said.

The kingdom imports around 97 percent of its energy, at a cost of some $4 billion a year, and for this reason, the government seeks to promote domestic energy sources, the Amman-based Ad-Dustour newspaper reported the minister as saying on Wednesday.

Momani, speaking during a visit to the Jordan Nuclear Regulatory Commission, said the government had not yet decided whether to build a reactor, but was studying the matter.

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

Khaled Toukan, chairman of the Jordan Atomic Energy Commission, and Hashim Bin Abdullah Yamani, president of King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy governmental organization in Saudi Arabia, signed the agreement, Jordan’s Al-Ghad newspaper reported.

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

Jordan has been closely watching the security situation in Syria, worried that fighters, weapons and refugees, crossing into the country, could be 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 said.

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