Saudis to warn Obama they will match Iran’s nuke buildup

Riyadh and other Gulf capitals reportedly will insist they will have ‘whatever the Iranians have,’ as Camp David summit gets underway

Saudi Arabian officials are warning that they will seek to match Iran’s nuclear arsenal, a US newspaper reported Thursday, as US President Barack Obama and leaders from six Gulf nations — including Riyadh — convened outside Washington to work through tensions sparked by the US bid for a nuclear deal with Tehran, a pursuit that has put regional partners on edge.

Along with Saudi Arabia, smaller Arab countries also say they also plan to pursue a nuclear weapons program to offset Iran’s, portending a much-feared nuclear arms race in the Middle East, according to the New York Times.

“We can’t sit back and be nowhere as Iran is allowed to retain much of its capability and amass its research,” one Arab leader attending the Camp David summit told the New York Times.

The official, who was unnamed, said he and others will also make their case to Obama at the meeting Thursday.

“Whatever the Iranians have, we will have, too,” former Saudi intelligence head Prince Turki bin Faisal said last month at a special session of the Asan Plenum, a conference held by the South Korean-based Asan Institute for Policy Studies, according to the New York Times.

Faisal also warned that the Iranian nuclear deal “opens the door to nuclear proliferation, not closes it, as was the initial intention.”

When Thursday’s meetings at the presidential retreat in the Maryland mountains conclude, it’s unlikely Obama will have fully assuaged the Gulf’s deep-seated fear of Iranian meddling in the region.

Full article: Saudis to warn Obama they will match Iran’s nuke buildup (The Times of Israel)

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