Home inContext The Saudis Explore Their Nuclear Option

The Saudis Explore Their Nuclear Option

Howard Gumnitzky

Saudi Arabia is working on plans for its first nuclear plant, a senior Saudi official said Thursday. The Saudis are not alone. Several other oil-exporting Arab nations are exploring their nuclear options, ostensibly as a solution to soaring energy costs.

These efforts are not about energy, however. An Arab nuclear buildup may be on the way, thanks to the West’s tepid response to Iran’s nuclear program. European firms and governments are, at best, indifferent to Iran’s nuclear drive. And the Obama Administration has done little to deter the Mullahs, as it leaves the door open to unconditional negotiations.

The Saudis, therefore, appear to be preparing for the eventuality of an Iranian bomb. As former U.S. national security advisor Brent Scowcroft warned, if Shi’ite Iran is allowed to obtain nuclear weapons, weaker Sunni Arab may feel compelled to take the same steps for self defense.