11:47 GMT30 November 2020
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    Earlier in the week, the Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Adel al-Jubeir, told the DPA news agency in an interview that Riyadh is considering arming itself with nuclear weapons in the event that Tehran becomes a nuclear power.

    Iran's Permanent Envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Kazem Gharibabadi, took to Twitter on Wednesday to denounce Saudi Arabia over its suggestion that it may arm itself with nuclear weapons.

    "If you want to pursue a nuclear weapon program, or you are seeking for an excuse to justify your lack of cooperation with the IAEA or your outdated safeguard system, at least have the courage to admit it and pay the price for it, don’t blame your wrongdoings on others by lies", Gharibabadi stated.

    The envoy noted in a follow-up tweet that "scapegoating and fearmongering are two common and classic methods used by demagogues".

    ​Gharibabadi's tweet came shortly after the Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Adel al-Jubeir, told DPA that it is "definitely an option" for Riyadh to arm itself with nuclear weapons.

    "We have made it very clear that if Iran is allowed to go nuclear, that other countries will go nuclear. And Saudi Arabia has made it very clear that it will do everything it can to protect its people and to protect its territories", al-Jubeir said, adding that nuclear weapons are "definitely an option" for the religious kingdom.

    Riyadh's statement came shortly after mainstream US media projected Joe Biden, who said he may revive US membership in the nuclear deal with Iran, to win the Oval Office.

    The 2015 deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), envisaged scaling back Tehran's nuclear programme in exchange for lifting the arms embargo and multiple economic sanctions from Iran.

    US President Donald Trump unilaterally exited the accord in 2018, accusing Iran of violating the terms - something that Tehran has consistently denied - and prompting the Islamic republic to step away from the JCPOA nuclear commitments. 

    Iran insists that it has not violated the nuclear commitments, noting that the country's nuclear program remains exclusively peaceful.

    In the event of Biden's victory in the election, the Democrat is expected to re-enter the nuclear deal with Iran, or at least consider the move. In a September CNN op-ed, Biden said there is a "smarter way to be tough on Iran". 

    "First, I will make an unshakable commitment to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. Second, I will offer Tehran a credible path back to diplomacy. If Iran returns to strict compliance with the nuclear deal, the United States would rejoin the agreement as a starting point for follow-on negotiations", Biden said at the time.

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    Tags:
    International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), IAEA, Saudi Arabia, Iran, US
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