White House Should State Opposition to Saudi Threat to Acquire Nuclear Weapons
Japanese A-bomb survivors and ICAN demonstrate before the UN vote in October 2016. Credit: Peace Boat
By Daryl G. Kimball and Thomas Countryman
WASHINGTON DC, May 16 2018 (IPS)
We are deeply disappointed by the counterproductive response from the Trump administration to the statements from senior Saudi officials threatening to pursue nuclear weapons in violation of their nonproliferation commitments.
We call on the White House to immediately reiterate the longstanding, bipartisan policy of the United States that it will actively work against the spread of nuclear weapons to any country, friend or foe.
President Donald Trump’s reckless decision to violate the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which has blocked Iran’s pathways to nuclear weapons and put in place a robust monitoring system to detect and deter cheating, has not only opened the door to an expansion of Iran’s capability to produce bomb-grade nuclear material, but it has increased the risk of a wider nuclear arms race in the Middle East, which is already home to one nuclear-armed state.
Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister Adel Al-Jubeir told CNN May 9, that his country, which, like Iran, is a party to the 1968 nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), stands ready to build nuclear weapons if Iran restarts its nuclear program.
Al-Jubeir also praised Trump’s decision to abandon the Iran nuclear deal and seek to reimpose sanctions on firms and business engaging in legitimate commerce with Iran.
Asked what his country will do if Iran restarts its nuclear program, he told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that “we will do whatever it takes to protect our people. We have made it very clear that if Iran acquires a nuclear capability, we will do everything we can to do the same.”
Asked to clarify whether that means the kingdom will work to acquire its own nuclear capability, al-Jubeir replied, “That’s what we mean.”
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