Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman has launched the kingdom's first nuclear research reactor as part of a plan to diversify the kingdom's energy mix and acquire nuclear capabilities, state media reported.
The reactor launched on November 5 is among 16 that Saudi officials, citing archrival Iran's continued development of nuclear energy, have said they plan to build over the next two decades at a cost of $80 billion.
While Riyadh insists its goal is to diversify away from oil and gas, the main drivers of the kingdom's economy, the nuclear plans have raised concerns in the West about the possibility of a nuclear race between the two Middle Eastern rivals.
Like Iran, Riyadh insists its only goal is the development of peaceful nuclear technologies. But Prince Muhammad warned in March that if Iran develops a nuclear weapon, Riyadh will do so as well.
Since that time, the United States has pulled out of Iran's 2015 nuclear agreement with world powers, while Iran has said it will continue to honor the accord as long as it continues to reap economic benefits from the lifting of international sanctions in exchange for curbs on its nuclear activities under the deal.
But top Iranian officials also have threatened to quit the agreement if U.S. sanctions on Iran's economy, which went fully into effect on November 5, squelch the benefit of its trade with the rest of the world.
سایت تابناک از انتشار نظرات حاوی توهین و افترا و نوشته شده با حروف لاتین (فینگیلیش) معذور است.