Saudi Ara­bia ‘to seek nu­clear weapon’ if Iran re­sumes pro­gram

The Miracle - - Middle East -

LON­DON: Iran’s ac­tions amount to a “dec­la­ra­tion of war,” the Saudi for­eign min­is­ter warned on Wed­nes­day, af­ter two bal­lis­tic mis­siles were fired to­ward Riyadh by Tehran-backed Houthi mili­tias. Adel Al-Jubeir, speak­ing to CNN, said Saudi Ara­bia would seek to de­velop its own nu­clear weapons ca­pac­ity should Iran do the same.He was speak­ing the day af­ter US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump pulled out of a 2015 deal that seeks to cur­tail Iran’s nu­clear weapons pro­gram. Saudi Ara­bia, the UAE and Bahrain praised the de­ci­sion to reim­pose sanctions on Tehran. Asked whether Saudi Ara­bia would “build a bomb it­self ” if Iran re­sumes its nu­clear weapons pro­gram, Al-Jubeir said: “If Iran ac­quires nu­clear ca­pa­bil­ity we will do ev­ery­thing we can to do the same.” Two bal­lis­tic mis­siles were fired at the Saudi cap­i­tal Riyadh on Wed­nes­day, ac­cord­ing to the coali­tion bat­tling Houthis in neigh­bor­ing Ye­men, which claimed the at­tempted at­tack. “These mis­siles are Ira­nian man­u­fac­tured and de­liv­ered to the Houthis. Such be­hav­ior is un­ac­cept­able. It vi­o­lates UN Res­o­lu­tions with re­gards to bal­lis­tic mis­siles. And the Ira­ni­ans must be held ac­count­able for this,” Al-Jubeir told CNN. “We will find the right way and at the right time to re­spond to this … We are try­ing to avoid at all costs di­rect mil­i­tary ac­tion with Iran, but Iran’s be­hav­ior such as this can­not con­tinue. This amounts to a dec­la­ra­tion of war.” Iran wit­nessed pub­lic protests around the New Year, with some an­gered by the coun­try’s fi­nan­cial sup­port for for­eign groups such as Hezbol­lah in Le­banon, amid eco­nomic prob­lems at home. Dr. Ma­jid Rafizadeh, a Har­vard-ed­u­cated Ira­nian-Amer­i­can po­lit­i­cal sci­en­tist, said that the reim­po­si­tion of sanctions on Iran would likely make it more chal­leng­ing for Iran to “hem­or­rhage bil­lions of dol­lars” on prox­ies like Hezbol­lah and the Houthis. But he added that sup­port­ing such groups would re­main a pri­or­ity for Iran. “Even be­fore the nu­clear deal when the Iran regime was crip­pled with mul­ti­lat­eral and uni­lat­eral eco­nomic sanctions, Tehran still con­tin­ued to sup­port mili­tias, prox­ies and ter­ror­ist groups,” Rafizadeh told Arab News. “The Ira­nian regime will more likely cut so­cial wel­fare on its own cit­i­zens in or­der to af­ford sup­port­ing its prox­ies.” Phillip Smyth, Soref fel­low at The Wash­ing­ton Institute, said the Ira­nian Rev­o­lu­tion­ary Guard Corps and Quds Force have “se­cure sources” of fund­ing. “If it ap­pears (as has hap­pened) that Ira­ni­ans are not get­ting any­thing ben­e­fi­cial through the govern­ment, while the govern­ment con­tin­ues its over­seas/re­gional ad­ven­tures, it cer­tainly does not bode well for the govern­ment in Tehran,” he told Arab News.

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