Sputnik: Is it possible for Saudi Arabia to develop nuclear weapons? Do they have the capability?
Dr. Foad Izadi: They don’t, in terms of scientific know-how, they are very primitive. If they want to have nuclear weapons, they need to get them somewhere – either from the United States or some other country.
They are not able to build nuclear weapons; in fact, they're not really capable in terms of science, to do many simplest things. The Saudi government has been sending oil and buying things that they need from the outside, so their capabilities are quite limited.
Sputnik: What repercussions then could this have on the balance of power in the Middle East if, as you say, they are not able to develop nuclear weapons but if they had the assistance to get one? How would this affect the balance within in the Middle East? It’s potentially very concerning, isn’t it?
Dr. Foad Izadi: It is. Nuclear weapons are dangerous: Iran’s leader has issued a decree, a fatwah, against obtaining or using nuclear weapons or weapons of mass destruction. It is prohibited under Islamic law.
You can engage in warfare if you are attacked but you cannot use anything at your disposal to win a war. So, chemical weapons, nuclear weapons – these are prohibited in warfare as far as Iran is concerned.
If Saudis go that far, it will not only violating international law, but also the basic principles of Islamic doctrine. There is supposed to be a government that follows the Islamic doctrine, so they will violate basically two sets of laws: both international law and Islamic law.
Sputnik: What’s your view regarding Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman. Recently, he has gone on a campaign to clean up the country from corruption. What’s his attitude now towards peace and the development of harmony in the region moving forward? Could relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran change under him, or is that just a bridge too far really?
Dr. Foad Izadi: It depends on the Saudis. The Iranian government has been trying to lower tensions with the Saudis. Iran’s Foreign Minister has been ready to go to the Saudi capital for the last couple of years. He is not welcome.
Under the Rouhani government in Iran, when they came to power, the main objective was to reduce tensions with other countries that Iran has historically had difficult relations. The United States was one, that’s how they got a nuclear agreement to reduce tensions with the United States and Europe.
The Rouhani government is interested in reducing tensions or maybe improving relations with the Saudis. But the Saudis find Iran to be a convenient enemy. They have a lot of internal problems, and in order to divert the attention of the public, of the citizens, they need to create some sort of enemy outside and fight that enemy.
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