SAUDI Arabia has threatened to arm itself with nuclear weapons unless Joe Biden succeeds in stopping Iran developing them.
The desert kingdom has strongly backed the hardline stance of Donald Trump towards Iran but its foreign minister said it was waiting to see what the new president’s policy will be.
Last year, Trump tore up an international agreement aimed at limiting Iran’s ability to produce nuclear weapons, calling it a "horrible, one-sided deal".
The UN nuclear watchdog, the IAEA, recently warned that Iran's stockpile of enriched uranium at its Natanz site has risen to more than 12 times the limit permitted since Trump unilaterally withdrew from the deal.
Asked if Saudi Arabia could develop nuclear weapons in response, the country’s minister of state for foreign affairs Adel al-Jubeir replied: “It’s definitely an option.”
“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 in an interview with the DPA news agency.
Riyadh appears wary of Biden's pledge to revive a pact between major powers including the UK and Iran, a landmark deal that was negotiated when he served as vice president under Barack Obama.
Asked what changes he anticipates could come once President-elect Joe Biden takes charge in January, he said: “We will have to see.”
He added: “We believe the Iranians have only responded to pressure.”
The United States and Iran have been at loggerheads since the Islamic revolution of 1979 deposed the pro-American Shah.
Their rivalry has intensified after the January 3 assassination of their top Iranian general, Quasem Soleimani.
Just last Thursday, Trump was talked out of launching a devastating strike on Iran's main nuclear site last week after advisors warned it could spark all-out war.
The president asked whether he had any options to engage Iran after the IAEA findings, according to a New York Times report.
Trump's central criticism of the nuclear deal was that it did not address Iran's ballistic missile activities and check in its regional behaviour.
US ally Saudi Arabia is Sunni Islam’s major power and is locked in a fierce regional rivalry with Iran, the leading force in Shia Islam.
The two countries are conducting a series of proxy war through their backing of opposing sides in regional conflicts from Syria to Yemen.
Earlier this year has released images and film of underground "missile cities" packed full of rockets.
Images of hidden bases dotted all over the Islamic republic show missiles ready for launch from the secret bunkers ready to be used if "enemies make a mistake".
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