Offbeat Saudi Arabia set to pursue nuclear weapons if Iran restarts program

00:45  10 may  2018
00:45  10 may  2018 Source:   cnn.com

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Saudi ’s defense chief and heir apparent, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said that the Kingdom would pursue nuclear weapons if Iran restarts its program , in an interview with CBS’ 60 Minutes set to air tomorrow. “ Saudi Arabia does not want to acquire any nuclear bomb

If Saudi Arabia pursue nuclear enrichment even if there is an Iran deal, then the victory to curb atomic weapons that Obama has tried to achieve will be at least partially undone by his own diplomacy. “They view the developments in Iran very negatively.

Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud, Jared Kushner are posing for a picture © Getty Images

Saudi Arabia's foreign minister told CNN on Wednesday that his country stands ready to build nuclear weapons if Iran restarts its atomic weapons program.

Asked what his country will do if Iran restarts its nuclear program, Adel Al-Jubeir told CNN's Wolf Blitzer that "we will do whatever it takes to protect our people. We have made it very clear that if Iran acquires a nuclear capability we will do everything we can to do the same."

Asked to clarify whether that means the kingdom will work to acquire its own nuclear capability, al-Jubeir said, "That's what we mean." He also praised President Donald Trump's announcement Tuesday that the US was quitting the Iran nuclear deal.

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And he has also added fuel to largely Sunni Saudi Arabia ’s fight with Shiite Iran . But even in the United States, the kingdom’s new nuclear energy push has raised worries that, as in Iran , it could potentially underpin a weapons programme .

" Saudi Arabia does not want to acquire any nuclear bomb, but without a doubt, if Iran developed a nuclear bomb, we will follow suit as soon as possible," Mohammad bin Salman, popularly known as MBS, told US broadcaster CBS in an interview set to air on Sunday.

"We believe the nuclear deal was flawed," al-Jubeir said, criticizing portions of the agreement that expire and the fact that its scope is limited to nuclear issues. "We believe the deal does not deal with Iran's ballistic missile program nor does it deal with Iran's support for terrorism."

While Trump's decision has pleased allies in Israel and Persian Gulf countries like Saudi Arabia, it pits the US against its closest European allies, leaves the future of Tehran's nuclear ambitions in question and raises the prospects of a regional arms race.

"As long as Iran was constrained and closely inspected, the Saudis could afford to put off their nuclear ambitions," Mark Fitzpatrick, executive director of the American branch of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, said on Tuesday.

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SAUDI ARABIA has been accused of seeking nuclear weapons technology in response to the threat from Iran . The deal limited Iran ’s sensitive nuclear program and subjected it to greater international monitoring.

Saudi Arabia has warned that it will develop its own nuclear weapon if regional rival Iran acquires one. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told US network CBS News his country did not want to acquire nuclear weapons .

"Now their calculations change. ... Trump's rejection of the diplomatic solution to the Iran nuclear crisis undermines multilateral diplomacy and the very underpinnings of the nuclear order. It gives a new writ to nuclear lawlessness, since Iran's having abided by the agreed rules will be proven to have been in vain."

Energy-rich Saudi Arabia, a fierce regional foe of Iran's, is already seeking US help in starting a nuclear program of its own, giving rise to concerns that it might be trying to compete with Iran's nuclear program and create its own nuclear weapons program.

The White House has been pursuing a deal to sell nuclear reactors to Riyadh despite the kingdom's reluctance to accept stringent restrictions against nuclear proliferation, including uranium enrichment.

Under its new crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, the kingdom has begun pursuing a markedly more aggressive foreign policy designed in large part to counter Tehran, and has quietly aligned itself more closely with Israel.

Bin Salman has developed close relations with the Trump White House, courting the President's son-in-law and adviser, Jared Kushner, in particular.

During a visit to Washington, bin Salman told CBS that it wanted the program for peaceful purposes, despite its reluctance to accept constraints on uranium enrichment, a step in the production of nuclear weapons.

"Saudi Arabia does not want to acquire any nuclear bomb, but without a doubt, if Iran developed a nuclear bomb, we will follow suit as soon as possible," bin Salman said.

The Latest: White House condemns Iran's 'reckless actions' .
The White House is condemning Iran's "reckless actions," accusing the country of "exporting destabilizing influence throughout the Middle East." White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders has issued a statement citing actions in Syria and Saudi Arabia. She is calling on "responsible nations" to pressure Iran to "change this dangerous behavior.

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