Saudi Arabia considers its own nuclear options after Iran deal

By REUTERS
July 21, 2015 16:46
1 minute read.

One likely Saudi Arabian response to the deal its biggest enemy Iran has struck with world powers is to accelerate its own nuclear power plans, creating an atomic infrastructure it could, one day, seek to weaponize.

But while it has recently made moves to advance its nuclear program, experts say it is uncertain whether it could realistically build an atomic bomb in secret or withstand the political pressure it would face if such plans were revealed.

"I think Saudi Arabia would seriously try to get the bomb if Iran did. It's just like India and Pakistan. The Pakistanis said for years they didn't want one, but when India got it, so did they," said Jamal Khashoggi, head of a Saudi news channel owned by a prince.

The conservative kingdom is engaged in a contest for power with the Islamic republic stretching across the region and fears the nuclear deal will free Tehran from international pressure and sanctions, giving it more room to back allies in proxy wars.

So far its response has been lukewarm public praise for the deal coupled with private condemnation, a reaction that follows a more muscular approach to Iran evident in its war against allies of Tehran in Yemen and more help for Syrian rebels.


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