U.S. and UAE sign nuclear deal

U.S. and UAE sign nuclear deal

Condoleezza Rice seems to be taking care of the Bush administration’s loyal international allies on the way out the door. Last week it was a security pact with Georgia. Today, the secretary of state will likely ink a nuclear cooperation agreement with the United Arab Emirates, the first U.S. nuke deal with a Middle Eastern country. The deal may still be held up by congress though:

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida, the ranking Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, has introduced legislation seeking to hold up the nuclear-cooperation accord until the U.A.E. provides guarantees that it is assisting U.S. efforts to combat Iran. The U.A.E. is among Iran’s closest trading partners, and the Emirates have served in the past as a major conduit for military technologies entering into Iran, according to U.S. officials.

"The United States should not even consider a nuclear-cooperation agreement with the U.A.E. so long as that country continues to complicate international efforts to halt Iran’s" nuclear ambitions, Ms. Ros-Lehtinen said.

Egypt and Saudi Arabia are looking to join the nuclear club as well, but have balked at the inspections requirements that the UAE is willing to sign on to. The incoming president and his aides have yet to comment on the issue.