US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan downplays Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s declaration to Fox News this week that Saudi Arabia will have to acquire a nuclear weapon if Iran does.
Sullivan is asked during a press briefing whether the remark was an attempt to up the pressure on the US as it tries to negotiate a normalization agreement between Israel and Saudi Arabia through which Riyadh is hoping to establish a civilian nuclear program.
“No, I don’t think so,” Sullivan responds. “This has been a longstanding position of Saudi Arabia.”
“Frankly, one of the major reasons that we are working overtime with partners and allies to ensure that Iran never gets a nuclear weapon, is that if they did, not only would they be a direct threat to the region and beyond, but it likely would trigger a regional arms race.”
“So, it has been core to the American principle and policy with respect to ensuring Iran does not get a nuclear weapon, this risk that potentially other countries in the region would seek nuclear weapons. That’s not something that emerged yesterday in an interview. That has been a feature of the landscape going back many years.”
“Now, from our perspective, we will do all that is necessary… to ensure that Iran never gets a nuclear weapon, so this hypothetical never comes to pass. That’s the stance that we take, and nothing about the comments made yesterday change or alter that.”