Saudi Arabia says it will 'do everything we can' to build nuclear weapon if Iran does

Saudi Arabia says it will 'do everything we can' to build nuclear weapon if Iran does
© Getty

Saudi Arabia said Wednesday that it would seek to acquire a nuclear weapon if regional rival Iran does the same following President TrumpDonald John TrumpGrassley: Dems 'withheld information' on new Kavanaugh allegation Health advocates decry funding transfer over migrant children Groups plan mass walkout in support of Kavanaugh accuser MORE’s decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal.

The Agence France-Presse reported that Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said Wednesday that the country would do "everything we can" to build a nuclear bomb in that situation.

Wednesday's comments echo ones from Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman comments in March, when he told "60 Minutes" that Saudi Arabia "does not want to acquire any nuclear bomb," but added that "if Iran developed a nuclear bomb, we will follow suit as soon as possible."

The Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shiite Iran have long had tense relations, including backing opposing sides in Middle East conflicts such as those in Syria and Iraq, in what many outside experts consider a de facto proxy war.

ADVERTISEMENT

Saudi Arabia has expressed support for the U.S. pulling out of the nuclear deal, saying it did not adequately address Iran's behavior in the region.

Trump announced Tuesday the United States’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, calling it “defective to its core.”

“This was a horrible, one-sided deal that should have never, ever been made,” Trump said.

The 2015 accord among the U.S., Iran, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Russia, China and the European Union provided sanctions relief to Tehran in exchange for curbing its nuclear program.

In response to Trump's move, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei suggested Iran could ramp up its nuclear program.

Members of Iranian parliament struck a similar tone, burning a U.S. flag and chanting “death to America.” Some lawmakers said Iran no longer is obligated to honor the deal.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, however, provided some optimism that Iran may continue to abide by the deal with the other partners, saying it “is a country that adheres to its commitments.”

European officials expressed disappointment in Trump’s decision, but pledged to keep the deal intact and honor its terms.

French President Emmanuel Macron, British Prime Minister Theresa May and German Chancellor Angela Merkel condemned Trump's decision and said they would reach out to the parties involved in the agreement “to seek a positive way forward.” That includes a framework for nuclear activity in the region once the existing deal expires, they said.