Saudi foreign minister raises prospect of nuclear option against Iran

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Saudi Arabia will do “whatever we need to do in order to protect our people,” including developing nuclear weapons if Iran does the same, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir said on Jan. 19.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir. /Reuters
Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir. /Reuters

Jubeir also warned that world powers may regret lifting sanctions on Iran as a result of its reported nuclear deal compliance if Teheran uses its cash windfall to fund “nefarious activities.”

“It depends on where these funds go. If they go to support the nefarious activities of the Iranian regime, this will be a negative and it will generate a pushback,” Jubeir told Reuters. “If they go towards improving the living standards of the Iranian people then it will be something that would be welcome.”

While the nuclear deal is one point of contention between Saudi Arabia and Iran, Riyadh also accuses Teheran of “meddling” in the region and the two nations opposing sides in the conflicts in Syria and Yemen and the political battles in Iraq, Lebanon and Bahrain.

Iran’s support for Shi’ite Muslim militias across Middle East is the main source of sectarian ill will, Jabeir said, acknowledging that this had produced what he described as “a counter reaction in the Sunni world.”