National Security

Obama Warns Clinton Foundation Donor Not to Get Nukes

Barack Obama
AP

President Barack Obama told Saudi Arabia that if it chooses to covertly work to build up a nuclear program, it would "greatly strain the relationship they’ve got with the United States."

"They understand that ultimately their own security and defense is much better served by working with us," Obama said in an interview with The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg. "Their covert—presumably—pursuit of a nuclear program would greatly strain the relationship they’ve got with the United States."

The remark came in response to a question from Goldberg regarding the fear that others in the Middle East would attempt to match the nuclear infrastructure that Obama's deal with Iran would allow it to keep.

"Have you asked the Saudis not to go down any kind of nuclear path?" asked Goldberg. "And what are the consequences if other countries in the region say, ‘Well you know what, they have 5,000 centrifuges? We’re going to have 5,000 centrifuges.’"

"The protection that we provide as [Saudi Arabia's] partner is a far greater deterrent than they could ever hope to achieve by developing their own nuclear stockpile or trying to achieve breakout capacity when it comes to nuclear weapons, and they understand that," said Obama.