November 8, 2013
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is upset over Secretary of State John Kerry and the United States working on a deal with Iran over that country’s nuclear program.
Prior to a meeting in Jerusalem on Friday with Kerry, Netanyahu said the Iranians “got everything and paid nothing” in a deal with the United States.
“They wanted relief of sanctions after years of grueling sanctions, they got that. They paid nothing because they are not reducing in any way their nuclear enrichment capability. So Iran got the deal of the century and the international community got a bad deal,” Netanyahu said, according to the Associated Press.
Netanyahu said since Israel is not party to the agreement it reserves the right to strike Iran and take out its nuclear facilities. He added the U.S. should call for nothing less than a complete shutdown of Iran’s nuclear enrichment capacity.
Netanyahu’s comments, however, ignore the prospect of another Muslim nation acquiring nuclear weapons – Saudi Arabia.
Earlier this week the BBC reported that Saudi Arabia has invested money in Pakistan’s nuclear weapons projects and stands to acquire atomic weapons any time it wishes.
According to a number of sources, the Saudi Kingdom would be able to deploy nuclear weapons more rapidly than Iran.
The BBC quotes Amos Yadlin, a former Israeli military intelligence boss, as stating during a conference in Sweden that if Iran manages to build an atomic bomb “the Saudis will not wait one month. They already paid for the bomb, they will go to Pakistan and bring what they need to bring.”
“I do think that the Saudis believe that they have some understanding with Pakistan that, in extremis, they would have claim to acquire nuclear weapons from Pakistan,” said Obama’s former counter-proliferation adviser, Gary Samore.
Although the prospect of Saudi Arabia acquiring nuclear weapons is nothing new, it is adds a new dimension to the talks between the United States and Iran on the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program which is legal under the terms of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty. Saudi Arabia is a party to the treaty and is a member of the coalition of countries demanding a Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone in the Middle East.
Israel is has not signed on to the NPT and maintains “studied ambiguity” about its nuclear arsenal.
In November, 2012, Israel and the United States cancelled high-level talks with Muslim nations in the Middle East on establishing a nuclear free zone in the region.