RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister said on Sunday that all bets would be off should Iran get an operational nuclear weapon, with Gulf Arab states moving to guarantee their security.
“If Iran gets an operational nuclear weapon, all bets are off,” Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud said in an on-stage interview at the World Policy Conference in Abu Dhabi when asked about that scenario.
“We are in a very dangerous space in the region…you can expect that regional states will certainly look towards how they can ensure their own security.”
The nuclear talks have stalled with Western powers accusing Iran of raising unreasonable demands, and focus shifting to the Russia-Ukraine war as well as domestic unrest in Iran over the death in custody of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini.
Though Riyadh remained “sceptical” about the Iran nuclear deal, Prince Faisal said it supported efforts to revive the pact “on condition that it be a starting point, not an end point” for a stronger deal with Tehran.
Sunni-ruled Gulf Arab states have pressed for a stronger agreement that addresses their concerns about Shi’ite Iran’s missiles and drones programme and network of regional proxies.
“The signs right now are not very positive unfortunately,” Prince Faisal said.
“We hear from the Iranians that they have no interest in a nuclear weapons programme, it would be very comforting to be able to believe that. We need more assurance on that level.”
Iran says its nuclear technology is solely for civil purposes.
A senior Emirati official said on Saturday that there was an opportunity to revisit “the whole concept” of the nuclear pact given the current spotlight on Tehran’s weapons with Western states accusing Russia of using Iranian drones to attack targets in Ukraine. Iran and Russia deny the charges.