Saudi crown prince vows to get nuclear weapons if Iran develops bomb

Saudi Arabia will build a nuclear bomb "as soon as possible" if regional rival Iran succeeds in developing its own long sought-after nuke, the Saudi crown prince said Thursday.

The Kingdom's next leader, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, said in an interview with CBS that his nation does not necessarily want to acquire nuclear weapons.

“But without a doubt if Iran developed a nuclear bomb, we will follow suit as soon as possible," bin Salman said.

Despite a centuries-long power struggle between the nations, bin Salman claimed “Iran is not a rival to Saudi Arabia" -- but the remark was not intended as an olive branch.

“Its army is not among the top five armies in the Muslim world,” he said. “The Saudi economy is larger than the Iranian economy. Iran is far from being equal to Saudi Arabia.”

The heir to the throne also likened the reign of Iranian leader Ayatollah Khamenei to that of Adolf Hitler during the rise of Nazi Germany, a comparison he's made in the past.

“He wants to create his own project in the Middle East very much like Hitler, who wanted to expand at the time,” bin Salman said. “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.”

The interview, which is scheduled to air on Sunday, is the first with a Saudi leader for a U.S. television network since 2005.

Bin Salman, the heir apparent to King Salman, is scheduled to visit the White House on March 20 for a meeting with President Trump.

Spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said Trump looks forward to discussing how to strengthen ties between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia, as well as how to advance common security and economic priorities.

Trump visited Saudi Arabia last year on his first foreign trip as president.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.