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Saudi Arabia is being accused of developing a secret nuclear weapons programme.

Image Credit: dw.com

Saudi Arabia is being accused of attempting to develop nuclear weapons as their rival Iran said that they are blocking inspections by the global atomic watchdog. On Thursday, the Iranian ambassador to Vienna-based international organisations Kazem Gharibabadi said that in Saudi Arabia there was a “covert nuclear weapons programme in the country”. He said that he informed the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

The IAEA is not being provided with even minimum necessary verification authorities.

Kazem Gharibabadi.

Saudi Arabia is a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, an international accord which aims to prevent the spread of atomic weapons across the world. The country is considered to be a non-nuclear state, but it has been long believed that they might be pursuing a nuclear bomb. The accusations by Iran have heightened the fear. Despite repetitive calls, Saudi Arabia is still refusing inspections by the agency.

Back in 2006, a German magazine Cicero revealed satellite images of what looked to be an underground city containing nuclear missiles in al-Sulayil, south of the capital Riyadh. In 2018, Crown Price Mohammad bin Salman said that the kingdom would be interested to pursue a nuclear weapons programme, if Iran manages to develop one.

As usual, the Saudi regime now says that their interest in uranium enrichment is only for civilian purposes. This is unusual, as experts believe that the Kingdom has a cheaper and safer source of alternative energy that they might use – solar energy. Last September, it was revealed that the Kingdom might have enough stores of uranium ore to develop 90,000 tonnes of uranium, showing an ‘extreme interest in developing an atomic weapons programme.’

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