Saudi Arabia will seek nuclear weapons if Iran acquires them, AFP news agency reported today, quoting a Saudi minister.
Yesterday, President Donald Trump announced the United States would be withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal. Trump said the Obama-era deal failed to contain Iran’s nuclear ambitions, announcing that the United States will re-impose sanctions on Tehran.
The president was quoted saying the following.
“This was a horrible one-sided deal that should have never, ever been made. It didn’t bring calm, it didn’t bring peace, and it never will.”
Back in 2015, in exchange for relief from sanctions, Iran scaled back its nuclear program. As Politifact noted, President Trump has repeatedly criticized the deal – during the presidential campaign and while president of the United States – so the decision to leave the agreement does not come as a surprise.
“At the heart of the Iran deal was a giant fiction — that a murderous regime desired only a peaceful nuclear energy program. Last week, Israel published intelligence documents, long concealed by Iran, conclusively showing the Iranian regime and its history of pursuing nuclear weapons,” Donald Trump said in White House remarks on May 8.
According to the same fact-checking website, although Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presented a trove of documents, they did not add any new information – much of what he had offered was not news for the international community.
The renewed sanctions, aimed at the heart of the Iranian economy, will impact the country’s energy, financial, and petrochemical sector.
Iran has, according to Politifact, largely complied with the 2015 deal. The International Atomic Energy Agency, too, said Iran had committed no violations.
Former President Barrack Obama defended the agreement, writing the following in a statement published on his official Facebook page.
“The reality is clear. The JCPOA is working – that is a view shared by our European allies, independent experts, and the current U.S. Secretary of Defense. The JCPOA is in America’s interest – it has significantly rolled back Iran’s nuclear program. “
Some, however, support Trump’s withdrawal from the deal. Most notably, Iran’s known adversaries: Israel and Saudi Arabia.
According to The Hill, Saudi Arabia expressed support from Trump’s decision, saying the deal did not adequately address Iran’s behavior in the region. The two countries have long had tense relations – one of them Sunni (Saudi Arabia) and the other Shiite (Iran), they have lead proxy wars, backing opposing sides in Iraq and Syria.
Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, suggested Iran could ramp up its nuclear program in response to Trump’s decision to withdraw from the 2015 deal.
Chanting “death to America,” most members of the Iranian parliament echoed Ayatollah’s sentiment.
Apart from praising the withdrawal, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said that the country would do “everything we (Saudi Arabia) can” to build a nuclear bomb if Iran does the same, The Hill noted.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, British Prime Minister Theresa May, and French President Emmanuel Macron condemned Donald Trump’s decision.