As Iran moves ahead with its nuclear ambition, other countries in the region, including Saudi Arabia, seek to obtain the atomic technology to keep "other options open" if Tehran were to develop a bomb, a news report has said.
With the world seemingly unable to stop Iran's nuclear march, other countries in the Middle East are now pushing forward with their own plans to go nuclear.
The US inked civil nuclear power deals with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates last year. The Saudi newspaper Al-Watan reported last week that the Saudi minister of water and electricity, Abdullah al-Hosain, said the kingdom was working on plans for its first nuclear power plant.
Israeli defense officials said that Saudi interest in nuclear power was connected to Tehran's race toward nuclear power, according to a report in the Jerusalem Post newspaper.
"The Saudis are genuinely scared of what will happen if Iran turns nuclear," one official said. "This is part of their response," he was quoted as saying by the Israeli daily.
Over the last two years, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait, the UAE, Yemen, Morocco, Libya, Jordan and Egypt have all indicated an interest in developing nuclear programmes, the report said.
If these countries did not want the programmes now for their military capabilities, they wanted the technology in place to keep "other options open" if Iran were to develop a bomb, unnamed Israeli officials were quoted as saying by the Israeli newspaper.