Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has said his country “would” develop nuclear weapons. Picture: AFP/Fayez Nureldine
Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has said his country “would” develop nuclear weapons. Picture: AFP/Fayez Nureldine

Iran’s leader ‘the new Hitler’

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 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 overnight in the US.

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has lashed out at Iran's leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Picture: AFP/Tolga Akmen
Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has lashed out at Iran's leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Picture: AFP/Tolga Akmen

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 realise 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 60 Minutes in the US on Sunday, two days before the crown prince's scheduled White House meeting with US President Donald Trump.

Donald Trump and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman are due to meet again next week. Picture: AP/Evan Vucci
Donald Trump and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman are due to meet again next week. Picture: AP/Evan Vucci

 

His comments come amid concerns over nuclear proliferation in the Middle East 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 Mr Trump has expressed a desire to scrap it, making its future uncertain.

Saudi Arabia’s crown prince has likened the Iranian supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to Adolph Hitler. Picture: Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP
Saudi Arabia’s crown prince has likened the Iranian supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to Adolph Hitler. Picture: Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP

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.

Prince Charles with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in London last week. Picture: Yui Mok-WPA Pool/Getty Images
Prince Charles with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in London last week. Picture: Yui Mok-WPA Pool/Getty Images


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