Saudi Arabia wants nuclear bombs if Iran restarts its weapons programme

Adel Al Jubeir and Iran leader Hassan Rouhani

Jubeir was echoing comments by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, who said during a visit to the United States in March that Riyadh will be quick to develop nuclear bombs if Iran does so.

However, Adel al-Jubeir replied that we will make restarts the nuclear program then they will also take every step to do the same.

Wednesday's comments echo ones from Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman comments in March, when he told "60 Minutes" that Saudi Arabia "does not want to acquire any nuclear bomb", but added that "if Iran developed a nuclear bomb, we will follow suit as soon as possible".

On Tuesday, US President Donald Trump pulled the US out of Iran's nuclear deal and announced he would not only reinstate nuclear sanctions on Iran and but also impose "the highest level" of economic bans on the Islamic Republic.

He stated that Iran must "cease providing ballistic missiles to terrorist organizations, like so-called Hezbollah and the Houthis".

Such behavior is unacceptable. 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".

Donald Trump
REUTERSDonald Trump branded the Iran nuclear deal'rotting as he announced the US was pulling out

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".

'We will find the right way and at the right time to respond to this, ' he warned. "We are trying to avoid at all costs direct military action with Iran, but Iran's behavior such as this can not continue". As Politifact noted, President Trump has repeatedly criticized the deal - during the presidential campaign and while president of the United States - so the decision to leave the agreement does not come as a surprise.

A other looming debacle is whether the U.S. pullout from the Iran deal could trigger a nuclear arms race.

"This was a disgusting one-sided deal that should have never, ever been made". This fact has been at the heart of Western and regional concerns over the nuclear work of Iran, Saudi Arabia's arch-rival which enriches uranium domestically.

For Saudi Arabia, that is "fine" because it means the return of sanctions and ratcheting up pressure on Iran in the region, including by Israel. "We believe the deal does not deal with Iran's ballistic missile program nor does it deal with Iran's support for terrorism".

The US Treasury Department said there will be "certain 90-day and 180-day wind-down periods" after which the anti-Iran sanctions will be in "full effect", including sanctions against Iran's oil sector.

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