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Saudis Will Renounce Their Non-nuclear Status

16 March 2015

By Markaz Kvakaz

A senior member of the Saudi royal family has warned that a deal on Iran's nuclear programme could prompt other regional states to develop atomic fuel.

Prince Turki al-Faisal told the BBC News that Saudi Arabia would then seek the same right, as would other nations.

"I've always said whatever comes out of these talks, we will want the same, Prince al-Faisal confirmed in an interview with the BBC News. - So if Iran has the ability to enrich uranium to whatever level, it's not just Saudi Arabia that's going to ask for that".

Saudi Arabia last week signed a nuclear co-operation agreement with South Korea that included a plan to study the feasibility of building two nuclear reactors in the kingdom.

Riyadh has also signed nuclear co-operation agreements with China, France and Argentina, and intends to construct 16 nuclear power reactors over the next 20 years.

The US Secretary of State, John Kerry, flew to Riyadh earlier this month to reassure Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Arab allies that America would not accept any deal unless it prevented Iran from building a nuclear weapon.

Prince al-Faisal said that Kerry was informed on concerns of Arab countries not only by Iran's development of weapons of mass destruction, but also in general by Iranian support for Shiite groups in the region.

"Iran is already a disruptive player in various places in the Arab world, whether it's Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Palestine, or Bahrain", listed Prince Turki al-Faisal.

"So ending fear of developing weapons of mass destruction is not going to be the end of the troubles we're having with Iran", he concluded.

Saudi Arabia is particularly concerned of Iran's support for Shiite militias in Iraq, openly rendered by Iranian general Qasem Soleimani, commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards' Quds Force.

"Now it seems that Iran is expanding its occupation of Iraq, and that is unacceptable", believes the official of the Saudi royal family.

The US military's top officer, Gen Martin Dempsey, has said that Iran's help in the Tikrit offensive could be "a positive thing providing it does not fuel sectarianism".

Later, Dempsey expressed concern that the leaders of Shiites in Iraq were not taking the promised action for reconciliation with Sunni Arabs.

Riyadh has also long been frustrated with America's refusal to arm the Syrians against the government of President Bashar al-Assad, Iran's closest Arab ally.

The US agreed to train and arm the Syrian opposition, but under the condition that they would fight against the IS.

Meanwhile, the Saudis see as enemies both Assad and the IS. "After all, I believe that fighting the IS is a fight against Assad", concluded Prince al-Faisal. 



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