Saudi Arabian Prince: If Iran Builds Nuclear Bomb, So Will We
Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammad bin Salman, stated in an interview with CBS that Saudi Arabia will develop nuclear arsenals if Iran does the same.
“Saudi Arabia does not want to acquire any nuclear bomb, but without a doubt if Iran developed a nuclear bomb, we will follow suit as soon as possible,” MBS stated in a televised interview.
In November 2016, the prince dubbed Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as “the new Hitler” because “he wants to expand.”
According to the World Nuclear Association, Saudi Arabia is planning to build 16 nuclear-powered reactors in the next 25 years. The country’s nuclear plan aims to diversify energy and cut reliance on hydrocarbons. The total cost of the project is predicted to reach $80 billion dollars.
The United States, France, China, South Korea and Russia have submitted bids for the first two reactors.
U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry will lead U.S. delegates to London this week to discuss Saudi Arabia’s nuclear plan. Salman is scheduled to visit the United States next week to meet President Donald Trump.
The history of Saudi Arabia and Iran’s rivalry
Both countries have long competed in exerting their influence in the war-torn Middle East. The long-time feud between the two nations has been attributed to religious differences, with Iran predominantly Shia Muslim and Saudi Arabia being a leading Sunni Muslim powerhouse.
Several events have clearly exhibited how the tension between the two nations is getting worse than originally expected. Currently, both Saudi Arabia and Iran are trying to boost their influence in Syria and Yemen. In the former, Saudi Arabia and its Western allies back opposition groups. However, Iran, alongside with Russia, supports the incumbent Syrian leader Bashar Al Assad.
Saudi Arabia’s past nuclear behavior must be taken into serious consideration
The United States must learn from the past: the Saudi regime provided financial support for Pakistan’s nuclear development project. Riyadh, capital of Saudi Arabia, obtained long-range DF-3 missiles from China without consent from the United States in the 1980s. These missiles, also known as “East Wind” missiles, are nuclear-capable.
Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman may be hailed for his efforts to reform his country, such as granting women more rights and investment in the entertainment sector, but when it comes to nuclear power, there are many reasons why the world should worry about his intentions during his leadership.