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Sunday, February 12, 2012

Report: Saudis would buy nukes from Pakistan within weeks of Iranian bomb

There goes the neighborhood:
Saudi Arabia would launch a military nuclear program immediately if Iran successfully developed atomic weapons.

While Riyadh signed an agreement with the US in 2008 stating that it would only pursue nuclear power for civil purposes, the Saudi government is likely to abandon the deal if Tehran had a nuclear bomb, reported The Times.

"There is no intention currently to pursue a unilateral military nuclear program but the dynamics will change immediately if the Iranians develop their own nuclear capability," a senior Saudi source said.

"Politically, it would be completely unacceptable to have Iran with a nuclear capability and not the kingdom."

In such an eventuality, Saudi Arabia would start work on a new ballistic missile platform, purchase nuclear warheads from overseas and aim to source uranium to develop weapons-grade material.

Officials in the West believe Saudi Arabia and Pakistan have an understanding in which Islamabad would supply the kingdom with warheads if security in the Gulf was threatened.

A Western official told The Times that Riyadh could have the nuclear warheads in a matter of weeks of approaching Islamabad. Other vendors were also likely to enter into a bidding war if Riyadh indicated that it was seeking nuclear warheads.

Both Saudi Arabia and Pakistan have denied the existence of any such agreement.

Like the US and many other countries in the West, Saudi Arabia believes that Iran is seeking to build nuclear weapons and the kingdom is preparing for a worst-case scenario, the Saudi sources said.
If this is true (The Times has a spotty record in such scoops), it is bad enough that Pakistan is willing to sell nuclear warheads to protect Saudi interests.

And if they are willing to sell to the Saudis, chances are they would do the same for other gulf countries.

And if they do that, the chances that a terror group would end up with nukes skyrockets, especially in the chaos that the "Arab spring" is bringing.

And beyond that, who could the "other vendors" be that are willing to sell nukes to Saudi Arabia? China? Russia?

Notice that no Arab countries felt this threatened by the assumption that Israel has had nukes since the 1960s.

(h/t Yoel)