Development of Saudi Arabia's nuclear program can lead to confrontation with Iran: experts
Azerbaijan, Baku, August 24 / Trend , U.Sadikhova /
Construction of Saudi Arabia's nuclear power plant with support from the U.S. is a response to Iran's nuclear program, and therefore, the analysts believe that this will lead to political tensions in the Middle East.
"If Saudi Arabia decides to become a nuclear power in the region [Middle East], then the struggle with Iran will further develop into a political confrontation," Alirza Nurizadeh, head of the Arab-Iranian Center for Strategic Studies, told Trend by telephone from London.
Minister of Water Resources and Energy of Saudi Arabia Mohammad al-Hossain highlighted the plans of the Kingdom to build the first atomic power plant, Saudi newspaper Al-Watan reported.
Construction of nuclear power plant was the result of the interest of Saudi Arabia to participate in the nuclear program in the Middle East in view of the conflict between Iran and Western countries because of Tehran's uranium enrichment.
Although Iran highlights peaceful purposes of the nuclear program, the U.S., Europe and Israel view it as a threat of building an atomic bomb
The experts consider Saudi Arabia's decision to get involved in nuclear projects in the Middle East as a response to Iran's nuclear initiatives, with which the Kingdom has tense relations since the establishment of leadership of the Shiite clergy in Iran.
Political differences between Riyadh and Tehran deteriorated after military clashes in Lebanon between the allies of Saudi Arabia - the ruling coalition "March 14" and pro-Iranian Hezbollah Party. Moreover, Iran supports the Palestinian Hamas resistance movement, while Riyadh provides assistance to Palestinian Administration President Mahmoud Abbas.
Developing its nuclear program, Iran is pushing other countries in the region, such as Egypt, UAE and Saudi Arabia, to acquire the same technology and nuclear power, Nurizadeh considers.
According to Nurizadeh, Iran's transformation into a nuclear power also pushes the U.S. to create protection of its regional allies from possible attacks by Iran.
He believes that a secret fight is occurring in the region between Saudi Arabia and Iran for political influence and dominance in the nuclear field.
Therefore, the construction of nuclear power plant in Saudi Arabia is a response to Iran's attempts to become a nuclear power in the region, said Mustafa Ozjan, a leading analyst on the Middle East.
"The project of Saudi Arabia, supported by the United States, is directed against Iran's nuclear program, Ozjan told by telephone from Ankara. - If Saudi Arabia and the United States carry out this project, then it will affect the political situation in the Middle East and lead to the armament of region countries."
Ozjan does not exclude that Tehran can seriously be concerned by the construction of the Saudi nuclear power plant.
Experts believe that the confrontation between the two strong powers in the region - Iran and Saudi Arabia - can increase if one of sides transfers to the military use of nuclear energy.
If Saudi Arabia uses its nuclear program for military purposes, then this will increase tensions in the Middle East and affect the security of the region, El-Sayed Khani, deputy editor of the Egyptian Algomhuria newspaper, told Trend .
However, the Egyptian analyst Khani denies the interest of Saudi Arabia in the military confrontation in the region, considering the direct role of Riyadh in the peace process in the Middle East between Arab countries and Israel.
Several years ago, the Ministry of Defense of Israel published a report which stated that only the Iranian nuclear program is a potential threat to the entire Middle East, the Israeli Jerusalem Post newspaper reported.
If the United States will be involved in the construction of power plants in Saudi Arabia, unlikely it will be used for military purposes, so Israel does not have to worry, Ephraim Asculai, a leading analyst on nuclear policy at the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS), told Trend by telephone from Tel Aviv.
Asculai excludes the use of Saudi nuclear power plant for the military purposes in the presence of U.S. support.
Nurizadeh agrees with him, saying that the policy of Saudi Arabia is crucial in establishing peace between the Arab countries and Israel
R.Hafizoglu (Baku) contributed to the article.
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