A senior Saudi prince told the BBC Monday that if Iran is granted the right to enrich uranium – Saudi Arabia will demand the same right.
“I’ve always said whatever comes out of these talks, we will want the same,” said Prince Turki al-Faisal, who has previously served as head of Saudi intelligence and Riyadh’s ambassador to Washington and London. While he is no longer a government official, al-Faisal’s words are widely understood as representing the views of the Al Saud ruling family.
“So if Iran has the ability to enrich uranium to whatever level, it’s not just Saudi Arabia that’s going to ask for that,” stated. “The whole world will be an open door to go that route without any inhibition, and that’s my main objection to this P5+1 [the six world powers] process.”
US Secretary of state John Kerry and his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif, have resumed nuclear talks in the Swiss city of Lausanne to try to narrow the gaps before a March 31 deadline set for a framework agreement on Iran’s nuclear program, and a June 30 deadline for a final accord.
Also taking part in the meeting on Monday were US energy secretary Ernest Moniz and Iran’s nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi.
Western sources revealed in early March that Kerry – who was visiting the the Gulf States – was offering an American nuclear umbrella to deal with the Iranian nuclear threat.
The sources told the London-based Arabic language Al-Hayat newspaper that while in Riyadh, Kerry intended to present senior officials in the country with a plan whose framework called for the US to provide a nuclear umbrella to the Gulf States as a counterbalance to the Iranian nuclear deal.
According to the report, the plan essentially would have the US defend the Gulf region from any nuclear attack that Iran might launch, in what appears to be a covert acknowledgement that the deal being struck will allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons as Israel has repeatedly warned.