Saudi Arabia would be forced to seek nuclear weapons if Iran became nuclear-armed, the Guardian quoted a senior Saudi official as saying on Wednesday.

"We cannot live in a situation where Iran has nuclear weapons and we don't. It's as simple as that," the official said. "If Iran develops a nuclear weapon, that will be unacceptable to us and we will have to follow suit," the official said, clarifying an earlier statement from Saudi Prince Turki al-Faisal.

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Faisal had told NATO officials that Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon "would compel Saudi Arabia … to pursue policies which could lead to untold and possibly dramatic consequences".

US State Department cables uncovered by whistle-blower website WikiLeaks last year, revealed a Saudi leadership wary of Iran and its nuclear aspirations.

A cable from 2008 quoted former Saudi Ambassador to the US Adel al-Jubeir recalling Saudi King Abdullah's  "frequent exhortations to the US to attack Iran and so put an end to its nuclear weapons program. 'He told you to cut off the head of the snake,' he recalled to the Charge, adding that working with the US to roll back Iranian influence in Iraq is a strategic priority for the King and his government."

The document says that the Saudi foreign minister called for "severe US and international sanctions on Iran, including a travel ban and further restrictions on bank lending." It added that, "the foreign minister also stated that the use of military pressure against Iran should not be ruled out."

In its assessment, the US Embassy cable concluded that the Saudis, "are eager to work with the US to resist and reverse Iranian encroachment in Iraq."

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