And at a time when Iran, which the U.S. and Saudi Arabia designate the world’s top state sponsor of terror, has increasingly sophisticated ballistic missile capability thanks to Russia, the investment is “common sense,” some experts say.

“If the Saudis are developing an indigenous ballistic missile capacity, part of the blame for this should be placed on the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) with Iran,” David DesRoches, an associate professor of security studies at the National Defense University in Washington D.C., told CNBC, referencing the multilateral 2015 deal that lifted sanctions on Iran in exchange for limits to its nuclear program.

In doing this, DesRoches argues, “the West in effect gave Iran absolution for its missile program … Given the plethora of missiles in the Iranian inventory, it is not unlikely that the kingdom sought to match its rival.”

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