For a former high-level official in Israel's security services, the news this week was not upsetting - that Iran onits own had produced new, advanced nuclear centrifuges. (Snip) Israeli intelligence, like its American counterpart, views 2014 or 2015 as the date when Iran will be able to build nuclear weapons, says the source - if it wants to and no one blocks it. In Saudi Arabia, in contrast, they are a bit more disturbed by the developments in Iran.
Saudi Arabia wants to equip itself with nuclear reactors to generate electricity. The United States is interested in selling Riyad reactors for two reasons - fat contracts worth billions of dollars for the American nuclear energy industry and there's the somewhat covert aspect: Supplying the reactors allows Washington to keep close tabs on nuclear developments in Saudi Arabia. The American administration is concerned that with a nuclear program for civilian uses, Saudi Arabia would actually like to prepare the infrastructure so it could switch to producing nuclear weapons relatively quickly, should Iran possess such weapons.
The French website Intelligence Online reports that the Saudi royal family has been divided over this issue for years. Its defense minister, Sultan Bin Abdul Aziz, and the country's former intelligence chief, Turki Bin Faisal, favor the preparation of a secret nuclear program for military uses, in cooperation with a Sunni Muslim ally - Pakistan, which possesses dozens of atomic bombs. This would counterbalance Iran's secret military plans.