Iran Warns of S. Arabia's Possible Bid to Develop Nukes
TEHRAN (FNA)- Iran’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the Vienna-based International Organizations Kazzem Qaribabadi warned that Saudi Arabia's opposition to the UN nuclear watchdog's access to its nuclear facilities reinvigorates speculations that the Arab country intends to develop atomic weapons.
Qaribabadi wrote on his twitter page on Thursday that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has been denied even the “minimum” authorities for verifying the nuclear activities in Saudi Arabia, warning that such situation allows the kingdom to pursue a covert atomic program.
His comments came after the Saudi envoy to the IAEA Prince Abdullah Bin Khalid Bin Sultan expressed concerns about Iran’s recent nuclear measures.
“For the KSA, the IAEA is not being provided with even minimum necessary verification authorities,” Qaribabadi said.
“A failure to implement the safeguards by rescinding the SQPs, could allow them to hide certain nuclear activities without them being subject to the IAEA inspections,” he added, referring to small quantities protocols to a comprehensive safeguards agreement.
Earlier this week, Iran announced that it had informed the IAEA of its plan to produce uranium metal enriched to 20 percent purity, which would be used as fuel for a research reactor in the capital, Tehran.
“This measure, which will significantly improve the quality and quantity of radiopharmaceutical production, will make the Islamic Republic of Iran one of the leading countries in the field of nuclear technology,” Qaribabadi tweeted.
Prince Abdullah, however, said that Iran’s real intentions are a matter of concern, claiming that the silicide fuel plate is not used for peaceful purpose.
Saudi Arabia’s nuclear ambitions have prompted worries in the global community over the past few years, specially after Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman hinted in 2018 that the kingdom may go for nukes.
Citing Western officials, The Wall Street Journal reported last August that Saudi Arabia, with Chinese help, has built a facility for extraction of yellowcake from uranium ore near the remote town of al-Ula.
The New York Times also said American intelligence agencies had spotted what appeared to be an undeclared nuclear site not too far from the Saudi town of al-Uyaynah.
Unlike Saudi Arabia, Iran showed the peaceful nature of its nuclear program to the world as several times stated in the IAEA's reports.