Iran: Saudi Arabia ‘scapegoating’ its pursuit of nuclear arms

Iran’s United Nations ambassador says Saudi Arabia is trying to use Iran as an excuse to develop nuclear arms after a Saudi minister said the kingdom reserves the right to arm itself with nuclear weapons.

In tweets in Farsi and English, Iran’s ambassador and permanent representative to the UN, Kazem Gharibabadi, said “scapegoating and fearmongering are two common and classic methods used by demagogues”.

“If you want to pursue a nuclear weapon programme, or you are seeking for an excuse to justify your lack of cooperation with the IAEA or your outdated safeguard system, at least have the courage to admit it and pay the price for it,” he said in reference to the International Atomic Energy Agency.

“Don’t blame your wrongdoings on others by lies.”

The Iranian official’s comments come shortly after Adel al-Jubeir, the kingdom’s minister of state for foreign affairs, said Saudi Arabia reserves the right to arm itself with nuclear weapons if Iran cannot be stopped from making one.

“It’s definitely an option,” he told the dpa news agency in an interview, adding Saudi Arabia “will do everything it can to protect its people and to protect its territories”.

“If you want to pursue a nuclear weapon programme, or you are seeking for an excuse to justify your lack of cooperation with the IAEA or your outdated safeguard system, at least have the courage to admit it and pay the price for it,” he said in reference to the International Atomic Energy Agency.

“Don’t blame your wrongdoings on others by lies.”

The Iranian official’s comments come shortly after Adel al-Jubeir, the kingdom’s minister of state for foreign affairs, said Saudi Arabia reserves the right to arm itself with nuclear weapons if Iran cannot be stopped from making one.

“It’s definitely an option,” he told the dpa news agency in an interview, adding Saudi Arabia “will do everything it can to protect its people and to protect its territories”.

In response, Iran urged the kingdom to refrain from “baseless allegations and hate-mongering”.

Tehran has pursued a nuclear programme for decades but insists it only wishes to use nuclear power peacefully.

More than 10 years ago, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei issued a fatwa – a legal or general decree in Islam by a religious authority or court and issued by a Mufti – declaring all weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons, a “serious threat against humanity”.

“The Iranian nation is itself a victim of the use of chemical weapons,” Khamenei wrote in reference to the eight-year Iran-Iraq War that ended in 1988.

“It feels the threat of development and proliferation of these weapons more than other nations and is ready to use all its resources to combat it.”

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