Saudis watch Iran talks with own atomic plans in mind

Iranian nuclear bomb would be Saudi nightmare scenario and Saudis have hinted they would seek bomb if Tehran gets one

Saudis watch Iran talks with own atomic plans in mind

World Bulletin / News Desk

The spectre of an atomic arms race in the world's most volatile region has heightened the stakes in Iran's nuclear talks after Saudi Arabia's repeated hints it would seek its own atomic weapons ifTehran ever did the same.

Riyadh's unprecedented action in assembling a coalition of other Sunni Muslim countries to bomb Tehran's Houthi allies in Yemen this week has shown how seriously it takes the threat from Iran, and how much more assertive its foreign policy has grown.

For the kingdom's Al Saud dynasty, locked for the past decade in a regional tussle with Iran's revolutionary theocratic rulers, the prospect of Tehran gaining a nuclear bomb, which it denies seeking, is a nightmare scenario.

But it is far from clear whether the Western-allied Al Saud would really risk their country becoming a pariah state by aggressively pursuing a course of action that would bring down demands for sanctions, or whether it is a bluffing.

Top Saudi princes have repeatedly said that Riyadh will push for the same nuclear rights world powers agree with Iran in the talks taking place in Lausanne, but have also hinted that if negotiations fail to stop Tehranacquiring nuclear weapons, they will do the same.

"If Iran possessed a nuclear bomb, Saudi Arabia would have to think very seriously about offsetting that. Saudi Arabia would not sit idly by," said Abdulaziz al-Sager, head of the Gulf Research Centre based in Jeddah andGeneva.

The knowledge that the ultra-conservative Islamic kingdom and other Middle East countries could seek the same terms as Iran for their own proposed civilian nuclear programmes has weighed on countries negotiating a deal.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 02 Nisan 2015, 19:02