As tensions between Saudi Arabia and its regional rival Iran escalated, the Gulf monarchy said it would reserve its right to enrich uranium, which can be used in nuclear weapons.

Prince Turki al-Faisal, Saudi Arabia’s former intelligence chief, told Reuters the country would not give up its “sovereign” right to a civilian nuclear program. He cited the deal Iran made in 2015 with the U.S. and other world powers, that granted Tehran a civilian program if it gave up its nuclear weapons ambitions, as justification for his stance.

In the coming weeks, Riyadh is due to have talks with the United States on nuclear cooperation, allowing U.S. firms to bid on a multi-billion-dollar contract to build the Gulf kingdom’s first two nuclear reactors.

Saudi Arabia has said it only wants the reactors for peaceful, civilian ends, but has remained elusive on the subject of whether or not it would enrich uranium to create nuclear fuel.

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