“For the Saudis the moment has come,” the British newspaper The Sunday Times quoted a former senior U.S. defense official as saying. “There has been a long-standing agreement in place with the Pakistanis and the House of Saud has now made the strategic decision to move forward [with the purchase of nuclear weapons].”
Like Israel, Saudi Arabia and other Arab Gulf states have been weary of the P5+1 powers’ negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program. The latest reports comes as Saudi Arabia and other Arab leaders suggested last week that they plan to match Iran in nuclear enrichment capability.
Arab leaders from the Gulf Cooperation Council met with President Barack Obama last week at the White House and Camp David to discuss the Iranian nuclear program and other regional issues. But a number of Arab leaders, including King Salman of Saudi Arabia, did not attend the summit in an apparent sign of displeasure with Obama’s Middle East policies.
Many Mideast experts have long warned that Iran’s nuclear program could set off a nuclear arms race in the region. Under the framework deal reached in April between Iran and world powers, Iran would be permitted to keep 5,000 nuclear centrifuges and conduct a limited amount of uranium enrichment.