Israel urges US to provide nuclear protection for Saudi Arabia

Israeli FM stressed that preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon should be the Biden administration’s top priority in the region.

By World Israel News Staff

Foreign Minister Eli Cohen urged the Biden administration to pledge to defend Saudi Arabia from a potential nuclear weapons attack by Iran, touching on Riyadh’s reported demand for its own nuclear development program as a condition for peace with Jerusalem.

In an editorial published in the Wall Street Journal amid swirling rumors that Saudi Arabia is gearing up to normalize relations with Israel in a U.S.-brokered peace agreement, Cohen wrote that Washington should provide backing to the Gulf Kingdom against Iranian nuclear aggression.

“South Korea, despite living under the shadow of a nuclear-armed neighbor and having the means to develop its own nuclear weapons, has abstained from nuclear-weapons development,” Cohen wrote.

“The U.S.’s defense commitment acts as South Korea’s deterrent against Northern aggression. A comparable American defense pledge could reassure Middle Eastern nations, primarily Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states.”

Cohen stressed that preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon should be the Biden administration’s top priority in the region.

Should Tehran successfully create a nuclear bomb, “it would almost certainly ignite a regional nuclear arms race,” Cohen wrote.

Other regional powers, such as Turkey and Saudi Arabia, would feel pressured to obtain nuclear weapons, “potentially plunging the entire Middle East into conflict,” he added.

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In recent weeks, Hebrew-language media has buzzed with contradictory reports about whether or not Israel would accept Saudi Arabia launching a nuclear development program. Such an agreement would come with assurance from the U.S. that the Gulf Kingdom would strictly use the technology for civilian purposes, such as green energy.

In March, the Wall Street Journal reported that a normalization deal between Saudi Arabia and Israel would be explicitly conditioned on a U.S. commitment to back the Gulf kingdom’s aspirations for a civilian nuclear program.

Saudi Arabia has long sought to utilize its extensive uranium reserves for a civilian nuclear program.

Riyadh also seeks to gain a commitment from Washington on weapon supplies as well as security guarantees.