Saudi Arabia wants nuclear bombs if Iran restarts its weapons programme

Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir

Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir

"We are very clearly given to understand that if Iran gets nuclear weapons, we will take all steps to achieve it", - he said.

Saudi Arabia will develop its own nuclear weapons if Iran does, Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir told CNN on Wednesday, amid spiralling tensions between the regional rivals.

CNN host Wolf Blitzer asked, "What will Saudi Arabia do?"

Saudi Arabia has threatened to build a nuclear weapon if Iran pursued such a weapon of mass destruction, in the wake of a US exit from a historic nuclear deal.

"The transaction did not concern the missile program of Iran or its support of terrorism", he said.

Yesterday, President Donald Trump announced the United States would be withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal.

Such behavior is unacceptable.

As Iran reconsiders its commitment to the deal that no longer protects it from US sanctions, Jubeir told CNN, "I believe that if Iran restarts its enrichment program beyond what it has right now that should trigger the snapback provision and cause all the other P5 [U.N. Security Council's five permanent members] countries to abandon the deal and reimpose sanctions on Iran".

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'We will find the right way and at the right time to respond to this, ' he warned. Since the conservative Sunni kingdom maintains Tehran is backing the militia in Yemen, the Saudi official said the strikes amounted to a "declaration of war".

'We are trying to avoid at all costs direct military action with Iran, but Iran's behavior such as this can not continue.

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.

His comments came shortly after Houthi rebels fired two ballistic missiles toward Riyadh.

But he added that supporting such groups would remain a priority for Iran.

"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.

Middle East analyst James Dorsey, a senior fellow at Singapore's S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, believes Iran will not compromise on its ballistic missile programme "because that is the core of their defence policy". Saudi Arabia cut formal ties with Iran in early 2016 when Iranian protestors attacked Riyadh's embassy in Tehran, in response to the execution of a popular Shiite Muslim cleric in Saudi Arabia.

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