Daily Israel Report

Saudi Arabia: We Won't 'Sit Idly By' if West Fails with Iran

Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the UK warns the kingdom will take action if world powers fail to halt Iran’s nuclear program.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 11/24/2013, 6:19 AM

Saudi security forces
Saudi security forces
AFP photo

Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the UK has declared the kingdom would not “sit idly by” if world powers fail to halt Iran’s nuclear program, reports Al Arabiya.

Ambassador Prince Mohammed bin Nawaf bin Abdulaziz, who was speaking to the British Times, called the Obama administration’s “rush” to embrace Tehran “incomprehensible.”

“We are not going to sit idly by and receive a threat there and not think seriously how we can best defend our country and our region,” Prince Mohammed, who is Saudi King Abdullah’s nephew, said.

“Let’s just leave it there, all options are available,” he added, referring to possible defense plans made in response to Iran developing its nuclear capability.

He was speaking as negotiators from six world powers are in talks with their Iranian counterparts in Geneva in an attempt to get Tehran to commit to downgrading its nuclear program in return for several sanctions being lifted.

The interview, which was published on Friday, came days after the same British Times reported that Israel and Saudi Arabia may team up to fight Iran if talks between Iran and the West fail to curb Iran’s nuclear program.

According to the report, which appeared last Sunday, Israel would carry out the actual airstrike, with Saudi Arabia providing technical support.

Saudi Arabia later denied the report, clarifying it "has no relations or contacts with Israel of any kind or at any level.”

In fact, Prince Mohammed told The Times, while both the Saudi and Israeli government are keen to ensure that Iran does not develop nuclear weapons, Israel should also have to show that its nuclear program is peaceful.

“The whole region will suffer from producing these weapons,” said the ambassador.

“It happens that everyone is talking about Iran, but Israel also has to prove that their program is a peaceful program, as we are demanding from the Iranians,” he added.

In order to ensure security in the Middle East, the international community should push Israel to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation treaty, Prince Mohammed told The Times.

“The idea of introducing these weapons in the region is unacceptable to us and this concept of total security is a dream, there is no such thing… The total security of one country is the insecurity of another — that has to be understood,” he added.

Last month, Saudi Arabia rejected a seat on the United Nations Security Council due to frustrations of the UN’s failure to act on the Syrian conflict.

“We feel we have been let down and hence this is why we are asserting ourselves, making the message loud and clear,” Prince Mohammed told The Times.

“Our aim is very clear: [a] Sunni, Shiite or Christian president is not the issue. The issue is that the President of Syria is brutalizing his own people,” he indicated.