Saudi Arabia set to pursue nuclear weapons if Iran restarts program

10 May, 2018, 14:07 | Author: Franklin Nunez
  • Saudi Arabia set to pursue nuclear weapons if Iran restarts program

US President Donald Trump announced on May 8 that the US was withdrawing from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), an global agreement reached in 2015 by Iran, the United States, Russia, France, China, Great Britain, Germany and the EU.

"People shouldn't take it for granted that Saudi Arabia will produce more oil single-handedly".

In theory, too, the United States is open to granting waivers to importers of Iranian crude, provided they show some willingness to reduce their purchases.

Saudi Arabia and Iran have long contended over influence in the region.

Based on the current supply and demand fundamentals, and the collapsing supply in Venezuela, a shortage of Iranian oil is likely to drive crude oil prices up.

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Authorities said they had intercepted two ballistic missiles fired from Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition is fighting to oust the Iran-aligned Houthi movement from the capital and large parts of the country.

A military source said that the rocket force of the Yemeni army and the Popular Committees bombed the headquarter with a homemade Badr 1 ballistic missile.

Trump's decision means Iran's government must now decide whether to follow the United States and withdraw or try to salvage what's left of the deal.

For analysis of why USA allies in Europe opposed Trump's decision, read this excellent piece from Politico's Matthew Karnitschnig at this link.

"He is supporting us not because we are Saudi Arabia or because we have oil, but because he thinks we are right", said Mohammed, another Saudi businessman. "The Russians are opposed to the US ending the deal, and on the other hand they don't really like high oil prices because the ruble is tied to the price of oil..."

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USA politicians will want to avoid being blamed for a further escalation in the run up to congressional elections in November.

Given the uncertainties about Iran's response over the next few months to Trump's action, as well as the good will Trump's decision has generated in Riyadh, the administration might also want to probe the possibility of extending the negotiations in order to win nonproliferation concessions and submit the agreement to a new Congress in January.

Jubeir was echoing comments by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, who said during a visit to the USA in March that Riyadh will be quick to develop nuclear bombs if Iran does so.

Chen Zak Kane is director of the Middle East Nonproliferation Program at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies in Washington, DC.

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