Biden Pursuing Nuclear Program For Saudi Arabia — But There’s One Big Problem

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Jake Smith Contributor
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The Biden administration’s goal of supporting a Saudi Arabian nuclear program could end with the country weaponizing nuclear capabilities in an arms race against Iran.

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan was scheduled to meet with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) on Thursday to discuss a deal that could normalize relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia, and include U.S. support for a Saudi nuclear program, according to Axios. While the nuclear program would be for civilian purposes — such as for energy production — MBS has warned that Saudi Arabia will abandon the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) and create nuclear weapons if Iran also obtains them. (RELATED: Biden Admin Scrambles To Tell Tehran It Had ‘No Involvement’ On Israeli Strike Against Iranian Generals: REPORT)

Iran and Saudi Arabia have had a troubled relationship, only recently restoring some diplomatic ties, while still harboring distrust for each other. Though he has spoken out against the danger of nuclear war, MBS has warned that Saudi Arabia will develop nuclear weapons if Iran does as well.

“We are concerned with any country getting a nuclear weapon… if any country uses a nuclear weapon, that means they are having a war with the rest of the world,” MBS said during an interview with Fox News in September. “If [Iran] gets one, we have to get one.”


MBS made similar remarks in a separate interview years prior, comparing Supreme Leader of Iran Ali Khamenei to Adolf Hitler and warning that Tehran is seeking to expand its power in the Middle East.

“Saudi Arabia does not want to acquire any nuclear bomb. But without a doubt, if Iran developed a nuclear bomb, we will follow suit as soon as possible,” MBS said during an interview with “60 Minutes” in 2018.

Iran is rapidly advancing its nuclear program, having enriched uranium to near-weapons-grade levels, according to a February report from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Iran could theoretically create a nuclear bomb with its current resources if it desired.

Regardless of the complications stemming from Saudi Arabia and Iran’s relationship, the Biden administration continues to push for the U.S.-Saudi defense pact that would support the creation of a Saudi nuclear program and include normalization agreements with Israel, according to Axios. The deal would potentially be presented to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who may have to make certain concessions in order to normalize relations with Saudi Arabia, including committing to the creation of an independent Palestinian state.

“I’ve been working with the Saudis… They are prepared to fully recognize Israel — fully recognize Israel, first time,” Biden said during a campaign reception featuring former Democratic Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton on Thursday. “But we have to — there has to be a post — a post-Gaza plan here, and there has to be a train to a two-state solution.”

The deal the Biden administration hopes to achieve with Saudi Arabia would also have to be ratified by the U.S. Senate, which presents a host of challenges given the current political dynamics in the chamber, according to Axios.

The National Security Council did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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