Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan said on Sunday that “anything can happen” if Iran acquires a nuclear weapon, Reuters reported. In November, the International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed that Iran had begun enriching uranium to 60 percent. Tehran also makes it difficult to inspect its nuclear installations.
“We are all in a dangerous situation in our region (…). It can be expected that the countries of the region will start looking for a way to ensure their security, Faisal said, referring to the Gulf countries, during the World Policy Conference in the capital of the United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi.
Talks between Western powers and Tehran on renewing the 2015 nuclear deal stalled in September. This contract guaranteed Iran lifting sanctions in exchange for curbing its nuclear program, including not enriching uranium to a level higher than 3.67 percent. In 2018, the then US president Donald Trump withdrew the United States from this agreement.
In November, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirmed that Iran has started enriching uranium to 60 percent. Tehran also makes it difficult to inspect its nuclear installations.
Faisal: signals from Iran are not positive
Prince Faisal said that while Riyadh supports efforts to renew the deal with Tehran, he believes at this stage that reaching it should be “a starting point, not a destination” for Iran’s nuclear program. “Unfortunately, the signals (from Iran – ed.) have not been positive lately,” said the chief of Saudi diplomacy.
– We hear from the Iranians that they are not interested in nuclear weapons. (…) At this stage, we need better assurances – he added.
In his opinion, “if Iran gets nuclear weapons, anything can happen.”
concerns of the Gulf states
The Sunni Gulf states are now seeking a broader deal with Iran that will also protect them from Iranian drones and missiles and regional organizations that are Tehran’s clients and military aid, Reuters reported.
Saudi Arabia and Iran, its most important rival, are engaged in so-called proxy wars, etc. in Syria or Yemen. In 2016, Tehran and Riyadh broke off diplomatic relations after the Saudi embassy in Iran was attacked after the execution of a Shiite cleric in Saudi Arabia.
Over 90 percent Iranian citizens profess Shia Islam, and the ruling House of Saud in Riyadh is based on Wahhabism, a movement born in the tradition of Sunni Islam. About 80 percent of the country’s population are Sunni.
Main photo source: AEOI