Saudi crown prince likens Iran leader to Hitler, says if Tehran gets nuclear weapon then Riyadh will follow

Likening Iran's leader to Adolf Hitler, Saudi Arabia's crown prince warned in a US television interview that if Tehran gets a nuclear weapon

AFP March 15, 2018 21:54:16 IST
Saudi crown prince likens Iran leader to Hitler, says if Tehran gets nuclear weapon then Riyadh will follow

Washington: Likening Iran's leader to Adolf Hitler, Saudi Arabia's crown prince warned in a US television interview that if Tehran gets a nuclear weapon, his country will follow suit.

Saudi crown prince likens Iran leader to Hitler says if Tehran gets nuclear weapon then Riyadh will follow

File image of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. AP

"Saudi Arabia does not want to acquire any nuclear bomb, but without a doubt, if Iran developed a nuclear bomb, we will follow suit as soon as possible," Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said in an excerpt of the interview that aired Thursday on "CBS This Morning."

The 32-year-old Prince Mohammed said he has referred to Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as "the new Hitler" because "he wants to expand."

"He wants to create his own project in the Middle East, very much like Hitler who wanted to expand at the time," Prince Mohammed said.

"Many countries around the world and in Europe did not realize how dangerous Hitler was until what happened, happened. I don't want to see the same events happening in the Middle East."

The interview is scheduled to run on CBS's "60 Minutes" show on Sunday, two days before the crown prince's scheduled White House meeting with US President Donald Trump.

His comments come amid concerns over nuclear proliferation in the West Asia and just days after the kingdom put an atomic energy program on a fast track.

Although intended to reduce Saudi Arabia's dependence on oil, analysts warn the capacity to produce atomic energy could open a pathway to nuclear development for military purposes.

A 2015 nuclear agreement has placed curbs on Iran's nuclear program, but Trump has expressed a desire to scrap it, making its future uncertain.

The Saudi cabinet says its nuclear program will be in "full compliance with the principle of transparency" and meet nuclear safety standards "in accordance with an independent regulatory and supervisory framework."

The country has accelerated plans to build 16 nuclear reactors over the next two decades, according to officials and analysts, at a cost of around $80 billion.

Saudi Energy Minister Khaled al-Faleh said in October that the nuclear program would start by building two reactors, each producing between 1.2 and 1.6 gigawatts of electricity.

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