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Report: Saudi Arabia Says Will Buy Nuclear Weapon if Iran Tests A-Bomb

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Common Dreams staff

An Iranian warship fires a Mehrab missile during naval wargames in the Strait of Hormuz on January 1. A report today from the Times UK indicates the Saudi Arabia would seek to buy nuclear weapons "the next day" if Iran were to test an a-bomb. (AFP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

A report today from the Times UK indicates the Saudi Arabia would seek to buy nuclear weapons "the next day" if Iran were to test an a-bomb, and would move towards a military nuclear program as "it would be completely unacceptable to have Iran with a nuclear capability and not the kingdom."

MSNBC and NBC report:

Saudia Arabia would move quickly to acquire nuclear weapons if Iran successfully tests an atomic bomb, according to a report.

Citing an unidentified Saudi Arabian source, the Times newspaper in the U.K. (which operates behind a paywall) said that the kingdom would seek to buy ready-made warheads and also begin its own program to enrich weapons-grade uranium.

The paper suggested that Pakistan was the country most likely to supply Saudi Arabia with weapons, saying Western officials were convinced there was an understanding between the countries to do so if the security situation in the Persian Gulf gets worse. Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have denied such an arrangement exists.

Iran, which follows the Shiite branch of Islam, and Sunni Saudi Arabia are major regional rivals.

The Times described its source for the story as a "senior Saudi," but gave no other details.

"There is no intention currently to pursue a unilateral military nuclear program, but the dynamics will change immediately if the Iranians develop their own nuclear capability," the source told the newspaper. "Politically, it would be completely unacceptable to have Iran with a nuclear capability and not the kingdom."

It also cited an unnamed Western official as saying that Saudi Arabia would ask Pakistan to honor the alleged agreement "the next day" after any Iranian nuclear bomb test.

The Huffington Post UK adds:

This is not the first time the Saudis have raised the spectre of a nuclear arms race in the Middle East.

In June last year, former Saudi intelligence chief and ambassador to Washington Prince Turki al-Faisal warned senior Nato military officials that an Iranian nuclear device "would compel Saudi Arabia... to pursue policies which could lead to untold and possibly dramatic consequences".
 

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