The 32-year old Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia has left the world surprised by announcing that Saudi Arabia will also develop a nuclear bomb if Iran does so. He stated that although the kingdom has no intentions of acquiring a nuclear bomb but will definitely do so if Iran develops one.
Saudi Arabia and Iran have been locked in an intense struggle for exerting influence over the Middle East. Prince Mohammad Bin Salman has developed a new vision for the economy to become self-reliant especially due to a global fall in oil prices and increased demand for alternative sources of fuels. The new vision of the young Prince entails developing nuclear energy capabilities to move to clean sources of fuel. Major economies of the world including US, Russia, China, France and South Korea are bidding to bag the multi-billion dollar tender to make the first two nuclear reactors for the Kingdom. Saudi Arabian government has given its approval of a national policy for the development of atomic energy clearly limiting the nuclear activities only for peaceful purposes. Although reactors have to enrich uranium to just 5 percent purity for peaceful uses, the same technology is used for enrichment to higher weapon-grade levels.
Saudi Arabia and Iran
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Republic of Iran share a very tense and non-cordial relationship which is fuelled by many geopolitical issues. Both the nations have wide differences on political agendas and faith. They have always been in confrontation due to their differences in interpretations of Islam, the leadership of the Islamic world, oil and relations with the West. While Saudi Arabia is a Sunni kingdom which has always shared warm ties with the US, Iran being a Shia Twelver Islamic Republic has shared closeness with Russia, China and Cuba. Both the nations are endowed with huge oil and gas reserves and thus have clashed over their energy policy. While Saudi kingdom takes a long-term view of the oil markets and believes in moderating the price of crude oil, the Iranian republic forced to keep the prices high in the short-term because of deteriorating domestic situations amid the global sanctions. In Syrian battlefield, Iran backed the Bashar Al-Assad’s regime and Saudi Arabia remained a major supplier of aid to the rebels.