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Saudi minister says ‘all bets are off’ if Iran gets nuclear weapon

Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud said Saudi Arabia supports efforts to revive the stalled Iran nuclear deal as “a starting point, not an end point.”

Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister said Iran’s Persian Gulf neighbors would take steps to bolster their security if Tehran were to obtain nuclear weapons.

“If Iran gets a working nuclear weapon, all bets are off,” Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud said in an interview on stage at the World Policy Conference in Abu Dhabi on Sunday when asked about such a scenario.

“We are in a very dangerous space in the region… regional states can certainly be expected to look at how they can ensure their own security.”

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Proxy talks between the United States and Iran to salvage a 2015 nuclear pact between world powers and Iran, which Washington exited in 2018, stalled in September. The United Nations nuclear chief has expressed concern over a recent announcement by Tehran that it was increasing enrichment capacity.

Nuclear talks have stalled with Western powers accusing Iran of making unreasonable demands, and with the focus shifting to the Russia-Ukraine war as well as internal unrest in Iran over the death in custody of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini. years.

Although Riyadh remained “skeptical” about the Iran nuclear deal, Prince Faisal said he supported efforts to revive the pact “on the condition that it be a starting point, not an end point” for a stronger deal with Tehran. .

Sunni-ruled Gulf Arab states have pushed for a stronger deal that would address their concerns about Shiite Iran’s missile and drone program and network of regional proxies.

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“The signs right now are not very positive, unfortunately,” Prince Faisal said.

“We hear from the Iranians that they have no interest in a nuclear weapons program. It would be very comforting to be able to believe that. We need more security at that level.”

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Iran says its nuclear technology is for civilian purposes only.

A senior Emirati official said on Saturday December 10 that there was an opportunity to review “the whole concept” of the nuclear deal given the current focus on Tehran’s weapons, with Western states accusing Russia of using Iranian drones to strike targets in Ukraine. . Iran and Russia deny the charges.

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