Yesterday the State Department announced the U.S. had signed a nuclear cooperation 123 agreement with the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
123 Agreements refer to Section 123 of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954. The section sets terms for the U.S. for entering into nuclear cooperation with other states. The Congress has the power to review these agreements and can slow or block them from coming into full force. In the fall of 2008, a Russia 123 Agreement had to be rescinded for lack of Congressional support.
It is unclear what the future holds for the US-UAE Agreement. The incoming Obama Administration has not publicly indicated a position, nor has the Secretary of State designate. In Congress, the Republicans and Democrats on the House Foreign Affairs Committee have re-introduced a measure from the last Congress, HR 364, that would restrict nuclear cooperation with the UAE unless it takes affirmative action to ensure that U.S. technology is not making its way to Iran.
If the deal is ultimately approved, it will be interesting to see how the Iranians react. Relations between the UAE and Iran are not the greatest. In fact, some argue that a larger concern for the U.S. entering into such an arrangement with the UAE is not that we do not trust the UAE (although blocking the transshipment of U.S. technology is a leading concern), but that U.S. technology will be so close to the Iranians making easier for Iranian agents to steal it.
Iran is the hub of Middle East instability and global terrorism. Limiting Iran’s access to U.S. technology and know-how is vital to protecting our troops and our allies in the region. You should read more about it. It is your tax dollars and interests at play.