U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (R) meets with Saudi Arabian Ambassador to the United States Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir (L) at the State Department July 16, 2015 in Washington, DC. Win McNamee/Getty Images/AFP
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One likely Saudi Arabian response to the deal its biggest enemy Iran has struck with world powers is to accelerate its own nuclear power plans, creating an atomic infrastructure it could, one day, seek to weaponize.However, some Saudis close to the ruling family have also warned that if Iran still manages to weaponize its nuclear program, then the kingdom will have to follow suit despite the cost of becoming a pariah state and rupturing ties with the United States.What senior Saudis have consistently said about the Iranian nuclear deal is that they will demand exactly the same terms.Its nuclear body, the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (KACARE), recommended in 2012 that Saudi Arabia install 17 gigawatts of nuclear power but it has not yet laid out plans to do so.At present, the United States is so closely entwined with Saudi Arabia's political and security infrastructure that it would be hard to envisage Riyadh embarking on a nuclear weapons project without Washington finding out.Going behind Washington's back to build a nuclear bomb would cause massive ruptures in a strategic security relationship that will remain vital to Saudi Arabia despite its efforts to create alternative alliances with other military powers.
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