Thursday, 7 July 2011

Saudi Arabia To Go Nuclear To Match Iranian Nuclear Weapons

Saudi Arabia will build nuclear weapons if Iran does, warned a Saudi prince.

Prince Turki al-Faisal, a senior diplomat and scion of the ruling Saudi royal family, told senior NATO officials that Riyadh would not stand idle in the event that Tehran developed nuclear arms, according to a report in the Guardian newspaper of Britain.

Proof of the existence of Iranian atomic weapons, he said, "would compel Saudi Arabia … to pursue policies which could lead to untold and possibly dramatic consequences".

A Saudi official in Riyadh backed Turki’s statements, telling the paper: "We cannot live in a situation where Iran has nuclear weapons and we don't. It's as simple as that. If Iran develops a nuclear weapon, that will be unacceptable to us and we will have to follow suit."

Turki reportedly made his comments earlier this month at RAF Molesworth, an airbase in Cambridgeshire, England often used by NATP as an intelligence-gathering site.

According to the Guardian, Turki told NATO officers, that Iran is a "paper tiger with steel claws" that is "meddling and destabilizing" across the Middle East.

Turki added: "Iran … is very sensitive about other countries meddling in its affairs. But it should treat others like it expects to be treated. The [Saudi] kingdom expects Iran to practice what it preaches.

Moreover, diplomatic cables secured by Wikileaks, reveal that Saudi’s King Abdullah has already warned US politicians that if Iran started constructing nuclear weapons "everyone in the region would do the same, including Saudi Arabia".

Turki also blasted Iran of meddling in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, and Bahrain, where Saudi soldiers have been sent to protect the royal family. (Saudi Arabia is a Sunni Muslim power, while Iran is Shia). In addition, Turki told the Molesworth delegation that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad "will cling to power till the last Syrian is killed". "The loss of life [in Syria] in the present internal struggle is deplorable. The government is woefully deficient in its handling of the situation," Turki said at that meeting.

This proxy conflict extends to more unexpected places. Saudi Arabia and Iran are competing in Malaysia, Indonesia and Bangladesh, said Karasik. They are rivals in West Africa, especially in Nigeria, and in Latin America the two nations compete when it comes to building mosques and distributing sectarian literature.

William Hague, Britain's foreign secretary said that Iran has recently conducted covert tests of ballistic missiles as well as at least three secret tests of medium-range ballistic missiles since October.

Iran and the west remain in dispute over its nuclear programme. The US and its allies insist Tehran aims to develop atomic weapons, a charge that Iran rejects.