Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, said that Saudi Arabia does not want a war in the region, but stressed that it “will not hesitate in dealing with any threat against our people, sovereignty and vital interests.”
In an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, the Crown Prince said that the Kingdom “supported the re-imposition of US sanctions on Iran out of our belief that the international community needed to take a decisive stance against Iran.”
Two tankers were struck by explosions on Thursday, the second attack in a month in the strategic shipping lane amid a tense United States-Iran standoff, prompting fears of a regional conflagration and sending oil prices soaring.
Prince Mohammed also accused Iran “and its proxies” of the May 12 attacks on four tankers anchored in the Gulf of Oman off the United Arab Emirates’ port of Fujairah.
Thursday’s attack on the two tankers – Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous that was carrying highly flammable methanol when it was rocked by explosions and the Norwegian-operated Front Altair – came around the time Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was meeting Iranian leaders in Tehran.
US President Donald Trump has said the twin attacks had Iran “written all over it”, rejecting Tehran’s vehement denial.
The Crown Prince told Asharq Al-Awsat that attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf, oil facilities in the Kingdom and Abha airport “underscore the importance of our demand before the international community to take a decisive stance against an expansionist regime that has supported terrorism and spread death and destruction over the past decades not only in the region, but the whole world.”
He criticized Iran for using the nuclear deal’s economic benefits “to support its hostile acts in the region.”
The Crown Prince said that Saudi Arabia “places great importance on the strategic ties with the US,” considering them a “main factor in achieving regional security and stability.”
He also expressed confidence that “our strategic relations with the US will not be affected by any media campaigns or arbitrary stances.”
The Crown Prince also said:
- The murder of citizen Jamal Khashoggi was a “very painful crime” and is seeking to “achieve full justice.”
- His country is greatly concerned with the security and stability of Sudan.
- Riyadh is working with its allies to achieve its objectives, including “defeating ISIS, preventing the re-emergence of terrorist organizations, dealing with the destabilizing Iranian influence in Syria and using all possible means to achieve political transition.
Via Asharq Al-Awsat