London, 15 Mar - In an interview set to air on this Sunday's "60 Minutes" Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told "CBS This Morning" co-host Norah O’Donnell that if Iran successfully develops its own nuclear weapon, Saudi Arabia will quickly obtain a nuclear bomb.
This is the first U.S. television network interview since 2005 with a Saudi leader. O'Donnell, a contributing correspondent for "60 Minutes," asked the 32-year-old heir to the Saudi throne about the political, economic and social reforms unfolding in his kingdom.
The progressive Crown Prince has made significant changes in the lives of women in the conservative Sunni Muslim kingdom, including granting them the right to drive for the first time. He has vowed to return the country to “moderate Islam”.
Prince Mohammed discussed foreign policy, including his views on Saudi Arabia's longtime foe, Shiite Muslim-ruled Iran.
An excerpt of O'Donnell's interview with the Crown Prince is presented below:
NORAH O'DONNELL: You've been rivals for centuries. At its heart, what is this rift about? Is it a battle for Islam?
MOHAMMED BIN SALMAN: Iran is not a rival to Saudi Arabia. Its army is not among the top five armies in the Muslim world. The Saudi economy is larger than the Iranian economy. Iran is far from being equal to Saudi Arabia.
O'DONNELL: But I've seen that you called the Ayatollah Khamenei, "the new Hitler" of the Middle East.
MOHAMMED BIN SALMAN: Absolutely.
MOHAMMED BIN SALMAN: Because he wants to expand. He wants to create his own project in the Middle East very much like Hitler who wanted to expand at the time. Many countries around the world and in Europe did not realize how dangerous Hitler was until what happened, happened. I don't want to see the same events happening in the Middle East.
O'DONNELL: Does Saudi Arabia need nuclear weapons to counter Iran?
MOHAMMED BIN SALMAN: Saudi Arabia does not want to acquire any nuclear bomb, but without a doubt if Iran developed a nuclear bomb, we will follow suit as soon as possible.
Tune in to "60 Minutes" on Sunday, March 18th at 7:00 p.m. ET/PT on CBS for the full interview.