Saudi Arabia 'Will Build a Bomb Itself' if Iran Acquires Nukes, Foreign Minister Warns

'If Iran acquires nuclear capability we will do everything we can to do the same,' Saudi Arabia's foreign minister says

Saudi's Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir speaks during a news conference after the 29th Arab Summit in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, April 15, 2018.
\ HAMAD I MOHAMMED/ REUTERS

Saudi Arabia will reportedly start developing its own nuclear weapons if Iran chooses to do so, its foreign minister said.

Speaking to CNN on Wednesday, Adel al-Jubeir said that Riyadh would “build a bomb itself” if Iran takes advantage of U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to pull out of the landmark accord with Iran. “If Iran acquires nuclear capability we will do everything we can to do the same," Jubeir said.

Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies basked in what they saw as a political victory over Iran, their rival for regional influence, after Washington withdrew from the international nuclear accord with Tehran.

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Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain swiftly backed U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to reimpose sanctions on Tehran, reflecting their concern about Iran's ballistic missile programme and support for militant groups.

"Paris and London may not like Trump’s decision, but how would the French or British feel if their capital cities came under direct threat by the Iranians?" Faisal Abbas wrote in Saudi Arabia's English-language Arab News daily next to a headline that read: "The deal is dead."

On Tuesday, Trump announced that the U.S. would pull out of the Iran nuclear deal and reinstate sanctions against Iran- against the wills of other European signatories. Trump said the deal "should have never been made. It didn't bring peace, and it never will."

On Wednesday, Trump said  there would be "very severe consequences" if Iran starts a nuclear program, adding that Iran "will negotiate" or "something will happen."

Saudi Arabia's foreign minister also called out Iran's role in Yemen, where it is supplying rebels with ballistic miisiles. “These missiles are Iranian manufactured and delivered to the Houthis. Such behavior is unacceptable. It violates UN Resolutions with regards to ballistic missiles. And the Iranians must be held accountable for this,” Jubeir told CNN.

Yemen's armed Houthi movement said it fired missiles at "economic targets" in Saudi Arabia's capital Riyadh on Wednesday, the group's official channel al-Masirah TV reported. 

Meanwhile, a State Department official said on that the Trump administration and the Israeli government were closely coordinating their moves in the weeks leading up to Trump's decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal.

The Israeli army has prepared for possible rocket fire towards Israel with plans for a number of potential responses after a strike in Syria was attributed to Israel. As part of its preparation, the Israel Defense Forces reinforced its aerial defense systems in the north and deployed additional Iron Dome batteries.