Satellite images show Saudi Arabia appears to be building ballistic missiles that can reach Tehran

A military base deep inside Saudi Arabia appears to be testing and possibly manufacturing ballistic missiles, experts and satellite images suggest.

Experts at the Middlebury Institute in Washington DC said that after examining a number of satellite images it appeared the kingdom had constructed a missile base in al-Watah, near the capital Riyadh.

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Jeffrey Lewis, a missile expert at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey, California, said heavy investment in missiles often correlates with an interest in nuclear weapons. “I would be a little worried that we’re underestimating the Saudis’ ambitions here,” said Lewis, who has studied the satellite images.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said last year the kingdom wouldn’t hesitate to develop nuclear weapons if Iran does. Ballistic missiles can carry nuclear warheads to targets thousands of miles away.

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Officials in Riyadh and the Saudi Embassy in Washington did not respond to requests for comment.

Having such a program could further strain relations with the U.S., the kingdom’s longtime security partner, at a time when ties already are being tested by the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and the Saudi-led war in Yemen.

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