Saudi Arabia plans to obtain nuclear weapons, but its nuclear power will be only for “peaceful use,” a former intelligence official said Monday told a security conference on Monday.
"Our efforts and those of the world have failed to convince Israel to abandon its weapons of mass destruction, as well as Iran... therefore it is our duty towards our nation and people to consider all possible options, including the possession of these weapons," said Prince Turki al-Faisal, quoted by AFP.
He added, "A (nuclear) disaster befalling one of us would affect us all."
The Sunni Muslim kingdom last summer said it would build 16 nuclear reactors for energy, but Faisal’s remarks were the first indication, at least in public, that Saudi Arabia may acquire nuclear weapons.
Israel has maintained a policy of “nuclear ambiguity,” meaning it does not confirm or deny assumptions that it has nuclear weapons, perhaps as many as several hundred.
However, Saudi Arabia’s biggest worry is Iran, run by a Shi’ite Muslim regime that openly says it wants to head a new Islamic empire in the Middle East.
The Islamic Republic is on a collision course with the West – and Shi’ite Muslim Arab countries – as it proceeds towards the capability of both manufacturing and delivering a nuclear weapon.
Saudi Arabia focused on peaceful use of nuclear energy at the energy conference in the oil-rich monarchy. “Once our nuclear project is complete and we have satisfied the kingdom’s demand for electricity,” Saudi Arabia plans to export electricity, said Khalid Al-Sulaiman, vice president of renewable energy at King Abdullah City.
As the world looks for alternative energy sources, Saudi Arabia, which produces 20 percent of the world’s crude oil, is looking to a future of not being dependent on oil to keep its economy strong.