Saudi Arabia ‘to seek nuclear weapon’ if Iran resumes program

Saudi Arabia will seek to develop its own nuclear weapons if Iran does, Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir told CNN on Wednesday. (SPA)
Updated 10 May 2018
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Saudi Arabia ‘to seek nuclear weapon’ if Iran resumes program

  • Saudi FM Adel Al-Jubeir says Tehran’s actions like a ‘declaration of war’ after attempted Houthi missile attack on Riyadh
  • Jubeir: Missiles fired on Saudi Arabia are Iranian manufactured, Tehran must be held accountable

LONDON: Iran’s actions amount to a “declaration of war,” the Saudi foreign minister warned on Wednesday, after two ballistic missiles were fired toward Riyadh by Tehran-backed Houthi militias. 

Adel Al-Jubeir, speaking to CNN, said Saudi Arabia would seek to develop its own nuclear weapons capacity should Iran do the same.

He was speaking the day after US President Donald Trump pulled out of a 2015 deal that seeks to curtail Iran’s nuclear weapons program. Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain praised the decision to reimpose sanctions on Tehran.

Asked whether Saudi Arabia would “build a bomb itself” if Iran resumes its nuclear weapons program, Al-Jubeir said: “If Iran acquires nuclear capability we will do everything we can to do the same.”

Two ballistic missiles were fired at the Saudi capital Riyadh on Wednesday, according to the coalition battling Houthis in neighboring Yemen, which claimed the attempted attack.

“These missiles are Iranian manufactured and delivered to the Houthis. Such behavior is unacceptable. It violates UN Resolutions with regards to ballistic missiles. And the Iranians must be held accountable for this,” Al-Jubeir told CNN.

“We will find the right way and at the right time to respond to this … We are trying to avoid at all costs direct military action with Iran, but Iran’s behavior such as this cannot continue. This amounts to a declaration of war.”

Iran witnessed public protests around the New Year, with some angered by the country’s financial support for foreign groups such as Hezbollah in Lebanon, amid economic problems at home.

Dr. Majid Rafizadeh, a Harvard-educated Iranian-American political scientist, said that the reimposition of sanctions on Iran would likely make it more challenging for Iran to “hemorrhage billions of dollars” on proxies like Hezbollah and the Houthis. 

But he added that supporting such groups would remain a priority for Iran. “Even before the nuclear deal when the Iran regime was crippled with multilateral and unilateral economic sanctions, Tehran still continued to support militias, proxies and terrorist groups,” Rafizadeh told Arab News.

“The Iranian regime will more likely cut social welfare on its own citizens in order to afford supporting its proxies.”

Phillip Smyth, Soref fellow at The Washington Institute, said the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and Quds Force have “secure sources” of funding. “If it appears (as has happened) that Iranians are not getting anything beneficial through the government, while the government continues its overseas/regional adventures, it certainly does not bode well for the government in Tehran,” he told Arab News.


Al-Sudais condemns Riyadh attack

Dr. Abdulrahman Al-Sudais, president of the General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques. (Supplied)
Updated 53 min 29 sec ago
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Al-Sudais condemns Riyadh attack

  • The secretariat of the Council of Senior Scholars noted the efforts of security services in Zulfi to preserve the safety of the country and protect its people

RIYADH: Dr. Abdulrahman Al-Sudais, president of the General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques, has condemned the terrorist attack carried out in Zulfi on Sunday.
“Such terrorist acts are a clear contravention of Shariah laws and a violation of the Sunnah of the Prophet, and are nothing but a trick by the enemies of Islam to create strife and turbulence, targeting the security, stability and capabilities of the Kingdom,” he said.
Al-Sudais praised the courage of security services who were able to thwart the attack, and he urged Saudis to support their efforts to prevent future offenses by reporting suspicious activity.
He added that criminal acts such as the attempt in Zulfi endangered the security and stability of the Kingdom, and concluded his statement by asking God to protect the country and heal those wounded in the attack. The secretariat of the Council of Senior Scholars noted the efforts of security services in Zulfi to preserve the safety of the country and protect its people.
In a statement, it thanked those involved, and said that their success in thwarting the terrorists, who targeted the investigation center in Zulfi, was a clear endorsement of the rigorous procedures and efforts put in place by the state and others to maintain peace in the Kingdom.