The bitter fruit of the Iran deal are already starting to materialize as predicted by many analysts. Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said over the weekend that Israel has seen evidence that Sunni Gulf states were looking to acquire atomic weapons in a bid to counter Iran, as they were not reassured by the Iranian nuclear agreement negotiated by world powers. Many Middle East experts predicted a new arms race in the region as the Iran agreement codified Iran becoming a nuclear power in the out years. This now seems to becoming an emerging reality.
“We see signs that countries in the Arab world are preparing to acquire nuclear weapons, that they are not willing to sit quietly with Iran on brink of a nuclear or atomic bomb,” Mr. Ya’alon said, reported the Telegraph.
Israel is united with the Gulf states opposing Iran acquiring a nuclear weapon, although Israel does not have diplomatic relations with any of them. Nevertheless, Israel uses back channels to communicate with the Sunni powers.
Mr. Ya’alon said Iran was liable to break the agreement as their economic situation improves with the lifting of international sanctions. “If at a certain stage they feel confident, particularly economically, they are liable to make a break for the bomb.” Even if the agreement for Iran to limit its nuclear enrichment holds, Mr. Ya’alon said its 15-year expiry date was “just around the corner”.
There has been speculation that Saudi Arabia has already negotiated with Pakistan the ability to buy nuclear weapons ‘off the shelf’ if it feels threatened by the Shia Islamic Republic. Pakistan has long been a source of nuclear proliferation to North Korea and elsewhere.
Saudi Arabia seems ready to counter Shia gains in Syria and Iraq by military supporting Sunni rebels in the region and has already sent fighter aircraft to Incirlik airbase in Turkey. The Saudis have also recently threatened to deploy ground troops to join the U.S. led anti-ISIS coalition in Syria.