The Saudi Canary in the Uranium Mine

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman al-Saud meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping (not seen) on Dec. 8, 2022.
Saudi Arabia/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The Saudi Canary in the Uranium Mine

The Middle East is about to go nuclear.

Arguably the biggest threat to the world order is Iran’s nuclear program. Iran is a radical Islamist state bent on perpetual war with the West. It will soon develop a nuclear bomb. But how soon? Reports from various sources contradict each other. Iran claims to be near weapons-grade purity of its uranium stocks, then denies it. The United States reaches a nuclear deal with Iran, then claims otherwise. With so much noise in the news cycle, how can we know if Iran is truly close to acquiring the bomb?

The answer: when its neighbors become desperate for nuclear programs of their own.

This is happening now. Saudi Arabia is currently negotiating a new deal with the United States. In exchange for normalizing relations with Israel, giving U.S. President Joe Biden a diplomatic win, the Saudis want U.S. support in setting up a nuclear program.

Officially, the proposed nuclear program would be purely civilian. But Saudi Arabia is one of the biggest fossil fuel exporters, meaning it shouldn’t need a reactor for energy purposes. The U.S. is worried Saudi Arabia wants to develop nuclear weapons, so it wants some nuclear safeguards: The Saudis are not to enrich their own uranium or mine their own uranium deposits.

Natural uranium is generally enriched to create electricity. The U.S. is not denying the Saudis access to enriched uranium. It just wants an external partner to enrich the uranium and determine the level of enrichment. Outsourcing enrichment would guard against Saudi Arabia producing weapons-grade uranium. From the Saudi perspective, this is apparently too much to ask.

The Saudis are getting impatient. Frustrated with the U.S. dragging its feet, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is reaching out to an alternate partner. The Wall Street Journal claimed on August 25 that Saudi Arabia may turn to China.

Saudi officials told the Wall Street Journal that China National Nuclear Corp. has bid to construct a nuclear power plant in the country’s eastern province. According to the officials, “exploring the issue with China was a way of goading the Biden administration to compromise on its nonproliferation requirements.”

According to Saudi officials, the kingdom would rather have a power plant set up by the South Korean corporation Kepco, with the U.S. providing operational help. Saudi Arabia is still a major customer of U.S. military technology. The U.S. military itself has a sizable presence in Saudi Arabia. This partnership has been very good for Saudi Arabia, and Crown Prince Mohammed would like to see it continue.

Saudi Arabia has taken other steps closer to China this year. It restored relations with Iran under Chinese mediation and recently joined China’s brics economic bloc. But according to the Wall Street Journal, this outreach to China is a ruse. The Biden administration’s empowerment of Iran, Saudi Arabia’s regional adversary, is putting the Saudis on edge. China, meanwhile, is one of America’s biggest geopolitical competitors. It appears the Saudi pivot to China is meant to provoke American counteroffers.

China is an easy source of money without any strings attached. But that doesn’t mean the Chinese are trustworthy partners. The examples of nations like Sri Lanka show what happens when one eagerly lets China in. This is why, despite the difficulties in dealing with the Biden administration, the Saudies would still prefer America as a partner.

But if push comes to shove, the Chinese offer still stands.

Nothing is definite yet. But the developments suggest Crown Prince Mohammed is desperate to get a nuclear program going. The only realistic explanation is that Iran is on the cusp of nuclear breakout, and the Saudis are preparing for the inevitable. Like the proverbial canary in the coal mine, when you see Saudi Arabia scrambling to get nuclear weapons, you know catastrophe is imminent.

What happens when Iran gets its bomb? What happens if the Saudis get their bomb? What happens if we have a nuclear arms race in the Middle East?

The answer: nothing good.

Matthew 24 is a prophecy given by Jesus Christ of the grave conditions to afflict the world in the end time, before His Second Coming. Verses 21-22 show one of the most pressing concerns: “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.” The Moffatt translation renders verse 22 as “not a soul would be saved alive.”

This prophecy dates itself. People have predicted when the “end time” would come upon the world. But for most of history, mankind has never been capable of cosmocide—self-destruction of humanity. Only devices like nuclear weapons could accomplish this. Matthew 24 is a prophecy for our day. And nations like Iran and Saudi Arabia are bringing its fulfillment closer and closer.

As scary as this prophecy is, it is also tied to the solution to these problems. As the end of verse 22 states, “… those days shall be shortened.” Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry writes in Nuclear Armageddon Is ‘At the Door’:

Would you say we are close to that time? Intelligence agencies and defense experts say that North Korea could now have the power to destroy major cities in America. And the whole world knows that Iran could become a nuclear power extremely soon. This means that two madmen could be ready to attack America with nuclear weapons!

It is childish folly to think anybody but Christ could stop this nuclear madness. …

So all this nuclear insanity is also a part of the sign of the Second Coming and the sign of the end of the age when Christ will save humanity from totally exterminating itself!

The Bible has a lot to say about a coming nuclear catastrophe. But it also states that this crisis will be cut short by the return of Christ. After that, humanity will finally have the peace and security it craves. To learn more, request a free copy of Nuclear Armageddon Is ‘At the Door.’