Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said Wednesday that his country will do “everything” it can to build a nuclear bomb if Iran tries to build one following President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal, reports the Agence France-Presse.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told “60 Minutes” in March 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.”
“I am announcing today that the United States will withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal,” Trump said on Tuesday from the Diplomatic Room in the White House.
“We will be instituting the highest level of economic sanction,” he added before signing a declaration to impose those sanctions that had been waived under a 2015 pact between the United States, Iran, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Russia and China. “Any nation that helps Iran in its quest for nuclear weapons could also be strongly sanctioned by the United States.”
“It is clear to me that we cannot prevent an Iranian nuclear bomb under the decaying and rotten structure of the current agreement,” Trump said. “The Iran deal is defective at its core.”
International inspectors and the deal’s signatories, including U.S. officials, have said Iran continues to comply with the terms of the agreement.
European allies criticized Trump’s decision, saying it would endanger regional security.
“France, Germany, and the UK regret the U.S. decision to leave the JCPOA,” French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted immediately after Trump’s address. “The nuclear non-proliferation regime is at stake.”
In response to Trump’s move, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei suggested Iran could restart its nuclear program.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, however, suggested that Iran may continue to abide by the deal with the other European partners, saying it “is a country that adheres to its commitments.”
The Hill notes:
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.
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.