Jordan is set on becoming the Middle East's newest nuclear power, Jordanian King Abdullah told the Wall Street Journal in an interview over the weekend.

In the interview, King Abdullah accused Israel of pressuring countries like South Korea and France not to provide nuclear technology to Jordan. He said Israel's "underhanded" actions had helped bring Jordanian-Israeli relations to their lowest point since the 1994 peace agreement.

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"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 stated. "There are many such reactors in the world and a lot more coming, so [the Israelis should] go mind their own business."

Large deposits of uranium were found in Jordan and the government is eager to develop these energy resources to decrease its dependence on oil imports.

The US, on the other hand, would like Amman to commit to importing its nuclear fuel to prevent the possibility of any uranium being diverted for military purposes.

Under the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) that Jordan has signed, Amman retains the right to produce its own uranium fuel.

In a seeming reference to Iran's contentious nuclear program, King Abdullah advocated an open approach to Jordanian nuclear development to assuage international security concerns.

"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," Abdullah said in the interview. "If we can be the model of transparency, it will push others."

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