Former Saudi spy chief says Iran nuclear deal will 'wreak havoc'

Fears deal will allow Iran get an atomic bomb; says Arabs were now turning away from the United States


Reuters July 16, 2015
British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond (2nd R), US Secretary of State John Kerry (R) and European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini (L) talk to Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif ahead of a group photo. PHOTO: REUTERS

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia's Prince Bandar bin Sultan, a former head of the kingdom's intelligence services and its veteran ambassador to Washington, has said Iran's nuclear deal will allow it to get an atomic bomb and "wreak havoc in the region".

Writing in Lebanon's Daily Star on Thursday, Bandar, who left office a year ago after orchestrating Saudi aid for Syrian rebels against Iran-backed President Bashar al-Assad, said that Arabs were now turning away from the United States.

Read: Saudi seeks nuclear deals, alliances to counter Iran

"People in my region now are relying on God's will and consolidating their local capabilities and analysis with everybody else except our oldest and most powerful ally," he said in the opinion piece.

Riyadh's public response to the deal was a short statement late on Tuesday that said it backed any agreement that would stop Iran getting an atomic bomb, but stressed the importance of strict inspections and the ability to reimpose sanctions.

Privately, officials and Saudi media with close ties to the ruling family have railed against the deal as likely to embolden Iran to give more backing to regional militias.

Read: If negotiations with Iran fail, Saudi may go nuclear

"The strategic foreign policy analysis, the national intelligence information, and America's allies in the region's intelligence all predict not only the same outcome of the North Korean nuclear deal but worse," he wrote, referring to Pyonyang's successful development of an atomic bomb.

It is not clear if the prince, a nephew of King Salman, plays any role in Saudi policy making since he was replaced as intelligence chief in 2014. Saudi sources quoted him in late 2013 as attacking US President Barack Obama's approach to the Middle East.

Read: Iran deal will not erase 'profound differences': Obama

"It will wreak havoc in the Middle East which is already living in a disastrous environment, whereby Iran is a major player in the destabilisation of the region," Bandar said.

COMMENTS (3)

Xnain | 6 years ago | Reply @Parvez: Saudis are not worried about Iranian Nuke capability but the usage of increased funds to create and expand Shia regional proxies. And US is apparently helping them by 1) attacking Iraq 2) Nuturing ISIS to legitimize iranian proxies. 3)Allowing Iran means to expand her regional footprint
Salman - SK | 6 years ago | Reply We can understand the Israelis being upset at the prospect of lifting of sanctions on Iran and thus freeing Iran's own money to be spent on development of Iran and its' people, but Saudis being so upset by this???? Saudi Arabia and Gulf countries are ruled by family oligarchies whose sole purpose is accumulation and preservation of their family's wealth at the expense of their people's development. Despite trillions of dollars of oil income in the last half century middle east is a backward region. Their only fear of Iran is that their people will start asking them the legality of their family's disproportionate riches. Fact is that mere possession of nuclear capacity does not do a whole lot for a country. North Korea, India, & Pakistan, despite being nuclear states, are on the lowest scale of the Human Development Index. Soviet Union despite having largest number of nuclear weapons in the world collapsed economically and disintegrated. It is the prospect of economic development and stability in Iran that is scaring the Saudis, the Gulf Emirates, and the Israelis. Iran, because of the nuclear deal, is much farther away from developing a nuclear weapon than it was last week, but it is much closer to being an economically prosperous and educated country today than it was last week.
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