Saudi Arabia is poised to gain control of nuclear weapons from Pakistan, according to recent reports, and could follow through on threats to arm up against perceived Iranian belligerence.
Multiple sources tell BBC Newsnight that Pakistan has prepared nuclear weapons for Saudi Arabia which are currently waiting to be delivered. The Islamic kingdom has previously invested in the Pakistani nuclear program. A special envoy for Saudi Arabia previously said "we will get nuclear weapons" to counter any such progression in Iran, a known adversary.
The BBC reports a former head of Israeli intelligence who claimed the Saudis would follow suit if Iran got the bomb. "The Saudis will not wait one month, they already paid for the bomb, they will go to Pakistan and bring what they need to bring," Amos Yadlin said at a conference in Sweden in October.
A 2008 report prepared for the Senate Armed Services Committee reinforces this chain reaction.
"The development of a Saudi nuclear weapon represents one of the most serious and most likely consequences of an Iranian acquisition of nuclear weapons," it states. "If Iran obtains a nuclear weapon, it will place tremendous pressure on Saudi Arabia to follow suit."
"High-level U.S. diplomats in Riyadh with excellent access to Saudi decision-makers expressed little doubt about the Saudi response. These diplomats repeatedly emphasized that an Iranian nuclear weapon frightens the Saudis ``to their core'' and would compel the Saudis to seek nuclear weapons."
A "restored U.S.-Saudi bilateral relationship" is the only factor that could stop such a crisis from spinning out of control, the report adds.
This news comes at a time of heightened tensions amid Saudi Arabia's foreign affairs counselors. The Arab nation recently refused a non-permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council, citing international inaction to regional crises, including the ongoing and bloody civil war in Syria.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was in Saudi Arabia on Monday trying to mend fences with his counterparts there. He stressed that the Saudis remain a "very, very important ally," and a "senior player" in the Middle East.
Saudi Arabia continues to stress its anxieties and concerns ahead of planned talks between Iran and the permanent members of the Security Council plus Germany, known as P5+1, about easing international sanctions against Iran in exchange for cooperation in limiting its nuclear program.