Saudi, Pak Officials Discuss Nuke Deal in US: Pakistan denies


WASHINGTON: Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry has hotly denied his country could sell Saudi Arabia an “off-the-shelf” nuclear weapon, after days of high-level talks in Washington.

After meetings at the White House, Pentagon and State Department, Chaudhry described the suggestions Pakistan could sell a weapon as “unfounded, baseless and untrue.”

“Pakistan’s nuclear program has nothing to do with any other country,” he told reporters.”This is a deterrence that we develop in response to a threat perception that we have from our east. That’s it,” he added.

“Pakistan is not talking to Saudi Arabia on nuclear issues, period.”

Gulf diplomats have suggested that Saudi Arabia and perhaps even the United Arab Emirates could buy a bomb from their staunch allies in Islamabad to safeguard against a nuclear Iran.

For decades Tehran has been building its nuclear capability, although it denies allegations from the west that the program is military-focused.

Arab largely Sunni Muslim Gulf states are uneasy with Tehran’s growing clout in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Bahrain and even in Saudi Arabia.

Anxiousness has peaked as President Barack Obama prepares to ink a nuclear deal with the Islamic Republic.

While the planned agreement would curb Iran’s nuclear program, Tehran would retain significant capabilities with a short “breakout period” needed to weaponize.

Saudi Arabia also fears that resulting US sanctions relief would hand its arch foe tens of billions to spend on its military, while key elements of the nuclear program would remain intact.

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