Mustafa Ozer / AFP - Getty Images, file
Saudi special forces take part in a military parade in the holy city of Mecca on November 10, 2010.
Saudia Arabia would move quickly to acquire nuclear weapons if Iran successfully tests an atomic bomb, according to a report.
Citing an unidentified Saudi Arabian source, the Times newspaper in the U.K. (which operates behind a paywall) said that the kingdom would seek to buy ready-made warheads and also begin its own program to enrich weapons-grade uranium.
The paper suggested that Pakistan was the country most likely to supply Saudi Arabia with weapons, saying Western officials were convinced there was an understanding between the countries to do so if the security situation in the Persian Gulf gets worse. Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have denied such an arrangement exists.
Iran, which follows the Shiite branch of Islam, and Sunni Saudi Arabia are major regional rivals.
The Times described its source for the story as a "senior Saudi," but gave no other details.
Mohammad Javad Larijani, a senior aide to Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, describes what Iranian leaders believe is a close relationship between Israel's secret service, the Mossad, and the People's Mujahedin of Iran, or MEK, which is considered a terrorist organization by the United States.
"There is no intention currently to pursue a unilateral military nuclear program, but the dynamics will change immediately if the Iranians develop their own nuclear capability," the source told the newspaper. "Politically, it would be completely unacceptable to have Iran with a nuclear capability and not the kingdom."
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta now believes there's a strong possibility that Israel will attack Iran in an attempt to thwart Tehran's nuclear ambitions, according to U.S. officials. NBC's Richard Engel reports.
Asked whether Saudi Arabia would maintain its commitment against acquiring WMD, Turki said: "What I suggest for Saudi Arabia and for the other Gulf states ... is that we must study carefully all the options, including the option of acquiring weapons of mass destruction. We can't simply leave it for somebody else to decide for us."
Turki is also a former Saudi intelligence chief and remains an influential member of the Saudi royal family.
In October, the U.S. claimed that agents linked to Iran's Qud's Force, an elite wing of the Revolutionary Guard, were involved in a plot to kill Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the U.S., Adel Al-Jubeir. Iran said the claims were "baseless."
The Saudi government has also accused a terror cell linked to Iran of plotting to blow up its embassy in Bahrain, as well as the causeway linking the island kingdom to Saudi Arabia.
In a secret diplomatic cable made public by WikiLeaks, Saudi King Abdullah allegedly urged Washington to strike at Iran and "cut off the head of the snake."
He said military action would only stiffen Iran's resolve, rally support for the regime and at best delay, but not halt, the nuclear program. "Such an act I think would be foolish, and to undertake it I think would be tragic," he said.