Report: Saudi Arabia to acquire nuclear weapons if Iran tests bomb


Saudi security forces march during a military parade at a base near Mount Arafat, southeast of the holy city of Mecca, on November 22, 2009. AFP PHOTO/MAHMUD HAMS (Photo credit should read MAHMUD HAMS/AFP/Getty Images)


Mahmud Hams

BEIRUT, Lebanon — Saudi Arabia will "within weeks" seek to purchase nuclear weapons if Iran tests an atomic bomb, according to the British newspaper The Times. The report comes as fears of an Iranian nuclear weapon mount in Israel and the United States.

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“Politically, it would be completely unacceptable to have Iran with a nuclear capability and not the kingdom," a Saudi source told the Times. Pakistan would be the most likely seller if Saudi Arabia wants to quickly buy nuclear weapons, since Riyadh is thought to have helped Islamabad financially after it was sanctioned for conducting a nuclear test in 1998.

The Times reported: "One [Western official said] that the kingdom would call in its favour from Pakistan 'the next day' after an Iranian nuclear test and could have warheads within weeks.

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MSNBC reported that Saudi prince Turki al-Faisal, former ambassador to the United States, said about whether the Persian Gulf states should maintain their committment to not acquiring nuclear weapons, "We can't simply leave it for somebody else to decide for us."

But, the report noted, Saudi Arabia lacks the surface to air missile capabilities of Iran and the US. Its only long range missiles are "notoriously inaccurate" East Wind missiles from China.