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November 18, 2020

S Arabia says it will develop nukes if Iran not stopped from making one

Top Story

November 18, 2020

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia could develop nuclear weapons if Iran becomes a nuclear power, the country’s foreign minister has warned.

Adel al-Jubeir said it is 'definitely an option' for the Middle-Eastern state to develop nuclear capabilities if its rival Iran could not be stopped from making one, according to reports. According to Mail Online, he told DPA news agency that other countries would also likely do the same.

According to Al Jazeera, the foreign minister said: 'Saudi Arabia has made it very clear, that it will do everything it can to protect its people and to protect its territories.' The comments come amid reports outgoing US President Donald Trump considered launching a strike against Iran's main nuclear facility last week.

Iran warned it would retaliate with 'crushing' force against the US if Donald Trump ordered a strike against the country's nuclear facilities, after reports that he was considering it in the final weeks of his presidency.

Ali Rabiei, an Iranian government spokesman, warned that 'any action against the Iranian nation would certainly face a crushing response' after US officials told the New York Times that Trump had asked about ways to punish Iran for its nuclear build-up.

The Pentagon's strike plans against Iran are thought to include missile attacks, cyber-warfare, and pre-emptive action by Israel, which has previously carried out a series of operations against Iran.

While Trump's advisers talked him out of a military strike, he might still look at other ways to hit Iran, officials said - weeks before he is due to hand power to Joe Biden who wants to re-enter the 2015 nuclear pact that Trump abandoned two years ago.

Trump's Oval Office meeting came a day after inspectors said Iran had increased its stockpile of nuclear material and given unconvincing explanations for uranium particles that were found at another site.

Trump asked his top national security aides including vice president Mike Pence, secretary of state Mike Pompeo, acting defense secretary Christopher C. Miller and joint chiefs chairman Mark Milley about the potential strike, sources said.

Miller is holding the top Pentagon job after Trump fired previous defense secretary Mark Esper last Monday. Trump's advisers ultimately dissuaded him from launching a strike by warning that such action could trigger a wider conflict with Iran, the officials said.

A source confirmed the account of the meeting to Reuters, saying: 'He asked for options. They gave him the scenarios and he ultimately decided not to go forward.' Any missile strike or cyber-attack would likely have targeted Iran's main nuclear enrichment facility, Natanz, which Tehran insists is meant for peaceful purposes. Most of the complex is underground and it is subject to monitoring by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) under the nuclear accord.