Saudi Arabia to acquire nuclear bomb if Iran does, says Crown Prince

Mohammad Bin Salman compares Iran’s Supreme Leader to Hitler in his quest for regional dominance

Dubai: Saudi Arabia’s crown prince has compared the supreme leader of Iran to Adolf Hitler and said that his country would acquire a nuclear bomb “as soon as possible” if Iran developed nuclear weapons.

Mohammad Bin Salman’s comments released Thursday, were part of excerpts of a prerecorded interview with “60 Minutes,” the CBS News programme.Saudi Arabia blames Iran for funding militias to undermine Arab states by fomenting sectarianism.

The two countries are on opposite sides of conflicts in Yemen, Syria and Iraq.

Mohammad is scheduled to arrive in the United States on Monday for an extended trip. His plans include meeting with President Donald Trump in the White House and with business, entertainment and technology leaders in a number of US cities.

One of his primary goals is to persuade Americans to invest in his reform plans, which aim to diversify the Saudi economy away from oil, increase the kingdom’s military self-sufficiency and raise its citizens’ quality of life.

His comments on Iran also suggested that he would seek further US cooperation in combating Iranian influence in the Middle East, a goal he shares with the Trump administration.

In the interview, Mohammad, 32, played down Iran’s power, saying its army was not well ranked in the Muslim world and that Saudi Arabia had a larger economy.

“Iran is far from being equal to Saudi Arabia,” he said, speaking through a translator.

When asked about his previous comments comparing Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader of Iran, to Hitler, he replied, “Absolutely.”

“He wants to create his own project in the Middle East very much like Hitler, who wanted to expand at the time,” the crown prince said.

“Many countries around the world and in Europe did not realise how dangerous Hitler was until what happened, happened. I don’t want to see the same events happening in the Middle East.”

He was then asked whether Saudi Arabia sought nuclear weapons to counter Iran.

“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,” he said.

Saudi officials grew furious with the Obama administration for its push with other world powers to reach an agreement placing limits on Iran’s nuclear capabilities.

Like Israeli leaders and many Republicans in the United States, they claimed that the agreement would merely delay Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons, while ignoring Iran’s other activities, such as supporting Shiite militias.

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