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Saudi Arabia to build nuclear bomb if Iran does so: FM

10 May, 2018, 11:25 | Author: Priscilla Morrison

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir, seen here at an Arab League meeting in Cairo in November 2017, said Iran would "do everything" to match any Iranian bid to acquire a nuclear weapon.

Trump's claim that his withdrawal decision from the Iran deal will strengthen his hand in negotiating a better Iran deal is yet to be proven.

While the statement didn't say whether Riyadh would boost output, the new sanctions could disrupt as much as 1 million barrels a day of Iranian crude - about a quarter of its total output - opening room for Saudi Arabia to fill the gap.

Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies basked on Wednesday in what they saw as a political victory over Iran, after Washington withdrew from the worldwide nuclear accord with Tehran.

The latest explosions come after U.S. president Donald Trump pulled out of a landmark nuclear deal with Iran - a move backed by Riyadh.

His comments came after Trump defied the wishes of the other parties to the nuclear deal - France, Britain, Germany, Russia and China - by announcing the U.S. would pull out of the accord and impose new sanctions on Tehran.




"President Trump is clearly articulating that he has minimal desire in an alternative agreement with Iran", said Ehsan Khoman, head of research for Middle East and North Africa at Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group.

"This was a terrible, one-sided deal that should have never, ever been made", Trump said.

Riyadh and Tel Aviv have been working covertly to normalize ties and form an alliance against Iran based on their opposition to the nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and the Islamic Republic's growing regional influence. "Last week, Israel published intelligence documents, long concealed by Iran, conclusively showing the Iranian regime and its history of pursuing nuclear weapons", Donald Trump said in White House remarks on May 8.

Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told CBS News in March, "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". The International Atomic Energy Agency, too, said Iran had committed no violations.

Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, suggested Iran could ramp up its nuclear program in response to Trump's decision to withdraw from the 2015 deal.

But a drop in Iranian exports due to a return of US sanctions, plus involuntary supply losses in other OPEC members such as Venezuela, would mean the supply cut would be significantly larger than intended.

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