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Saudi Crown Prince warns that if Iran attains nuclear weapon, ‘we have to get one’

September 21, 2023 at 6:08 pm

A general view of the Natanz nuclear enrichment facility, is seen on April 9, 2007, 180 miles south of Tehran, Iran. [Majid Saeedi/Getty Images]

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, Mohammed Bin Salman, has warned that the Kingdom will be forced to acquire a nuclear weapon if Iran manages to do so, raising concerns of renewed rivalry in the region after a thaw in the two countries’ diplomatic relations.

In an interview with Fox News yesterday, Bin Salman was asked about his stance on Iran’s potential acquisition and construction of nuclear weapons, to which he responded by saying that “we are concerned [about] any country getting a nuclear weapon. That’s a bad move”.

He further stated that “You don’t need to get a nuclear weapon because you can’t use it even if you can get a nuclear weapon.” If a country, including Iran, uses such a weapon then it would find itself at war with “the world”, the Crown Prince said. “The world cannot see another Hiroshima. If the world sees 100,000 people dead, that means you are in a war with the rest of the world.”

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Although he called into question the practicality of nuclear weapons, he expressed his opposition to Iran’s acquisition of them and warned that Saudi Arabia would have to follow suit. “If they get one, we have to get one”, bin Salman said. The reasons he cited for that stance were  “security reasons” and for “balancing power in the Middle East.” The Crown Prince assured, however, that “we don’t want to see that”.

The de-facto Saudi ruler’s warning comes six months after a reconciliation deal – brokered by China – was struck in March this year, restoring diplomatic relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia and seemingly ending the long-held rivalry that had shaped the region until then. “We didn’t choose China, China chose to be a broker to make that happen”, Bin Salman said of it during the interview.

In the broadcast, the Crown Prince also spoke on a number of other topics such as the Kingdom’s normalisation talks with Israel, in which he said simply that “every day we get closer” to a potential deal with the occupation state.

READ: Does the Saudi-Iran agreement reflect the change in China’s foreign policy?