Saudi Arabia Vows To Get Nukes If Iran Acquires Them

June 30, 2011SAUDI ARABIA – A senior Saudi Arabian diplomat and member of the ruling royal family has raised the specter of nuclear conflict in the Middle East if Iran comes close to developing a nuclear weapon. Prince Turki al-Faisal, a former Saudi intelligence chief and ambassador to Washington, warned senior NATO military officials that the existence of such a device “would compel Saudi Arabia … to pursue policies which could lead to untold and possibly dramatic consequences.” He did not state explicitly what these policies would be, but a senior official in Riyadh who is close to the prince said yesterday his message was clear. “We cannot live in a situation where Iran has nuclear weapons and we don’t. It’s as simple as that,” the official said. “If Iran develops a nuclear weapon, that will be unacceptable to us and we will have to follow suit.” Officials in Riyadh said that Saudi Arabia would reluctantly push ahead with its own civilian nuclear program. Peaceful use of nuclear power, Turki said, was the right of all nations. Turki was speaking earlier this month at an unpublicized meeting at RAF Molesworth, the airbase in Cambridgeshire used by NATO as a centre for gathering and collating intelligence on the Middle East and the Mediterranean. According to a transcript of his speech obtained by the Guardian, Turki told his audience that Iran was a “paper tiger with steel claws” that was “meddling and destabilizing” across the region. “Iran … is very sensitive about other countries meddling in its affairs. But it should treat others like it expects to be treated. The kingdom expects Iran to practice what it preaches,” Turki said. Turki holds no official post in Saudi Arabia but is seen as an ambassador at large for the kingdom and a potential future foreign minister. –Guardian UK
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