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West Asia, Yet Again!

The regional tussle in West Asia between Iran and Saudi Arabia has taken a new turn, with Tehran accusing Riyadh of piling up a stock of nuclear weapons! Kazem Gharibabadi, Iran’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the UN, recently claimed that Saudi Arabia was in its pursuit of accumulation of nuclear armaments by making Iran, the only Shi’ite Nation in the world, a scapegoat.

Soon after a Saudi Minister mentioned that the Kingdom reserved the right to arm itself with nuclear weapons, the seasoned diplomat from Iran targeted the neighbouring country, stressing: “Instilling an all-pervading fear and anxiety, as well as finding and singling out scapegoats are two common and classic methods used by demagogues.” In reference to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), he stated: “If you want to pursue a nuclear-weapon programme, or you are seeking for an excuse to justify your lack of co-operation with the IAEA or your out-dated safeguard system, at least have the courage to admit it and pay the price for it.” Gharibabadi further advised Saudi Arabia not to “blame your wrongdoings on others, by lies”.

Kazem Gharibabadi

Earlier, Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir had said that his country reserved the right to arm itself with nuclear weapons, if the Global Community could not stop Iran from making one. Talking to the media in Riyadh, the Minister insisted: “It’s definitely an option. Saudi Arabia will do everything it can to protect its people and to protect its territories.” The Minister issued such a controversial comment after Salman bin Abdulaziz – the Saudi Royale – urged the world to take a decisive stance, and to address Iran’s efforts to develop nuclear and ballistic missile programmes.

Iran gave a fitting reply to the Saudi move, telling the Kingdom to refrain from “baseless allegations and hate-mongering”. Gharibabadi once again made it clear that Tehran had pursued the Nuclear Programme decades ago, but it would wish to use Nuclear Power to foster and promote Peace.

Adel al-Jubeir

It is to be noted that the Supreme Iranian Leader Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Hosseini Khamenei had issued a Fatwa (a Legal or General Decree in Islam by a religious authority or court and issued by a Mufti), declaring all weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons, a “serious threat against humanity”, almost a decade ago. In the context of the eight-year Iran-Iraq War that ended in 1988, Khamenei stated: “The Iranian Nation is itself a victim of the use of chemical weapons. It feels the threat of development and proliferation of these weapons more than other nations and is ready to use all its resources to combat it.

Iran and Saudi Arabia have emerged as arch rivals in West Asia, with both the countries trying hard to dominate the Regional Geopolitics. Although the Kingdom’s proximity with the US helps Riyadh increase its influence in the Middle East; Turkey and some other nations maintain cordial ties with Tehran in order to counter the Western hegemony. Experts are of the opinion that the rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran has flared up since Joe Biden’s election as the US President. They believe it will be a real challenge for President-elect Biden to prepare his strategy for West Asia…

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