Saudi Arabia does not want war in the region but stands ready to respond with “all strength and determination” after last week’s attacks on Saudi oil assets, a senior official said, adding that the ball was now in Iran’s court.
On Sunday night, a rocket crashed in the Iraqi capital’s heavily fortified Green Zone, landing less than a mile from the U.S. Embassy, further escalating tensions. No casualties were reported in the attack.
““The kingdom of Saudi Arabia does not want war in the region and does not strive for that … but at the same time, if the other side chooses war, the kingdom will fight this with all force and determination and it will defend itself, its citizens and its interests,” Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir told reporters Sunday.
“The current critical circumstances entail a unified Arab and Gulf stance toward the besetting challenges and risks,” the UAE foreign ministry said.
Riyadh has accused Tehran of ordering Last week’s drone attacks on two oil pumping stations in the kingdom, claimed by Yemen’s Houthi group.
Iran has denied it was behind the attacks which come as Washington and the Islamic republic spar over sanctions and the US military presence in the region, raising concerns about a potential US-Iran conflict.
The country’s official press agency has reported that “Al-Jubeir said that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia calls upon the international community to take a firm stance against this regime in order to stop and prevent it from spreading destruction and chaos throughout the world.”
Fears of armed conflict were already running high after the White House ordered warships and bombers to the region earlier this month to counter an alleged, unexplained threat from Iran. The U.S. also has ordered nonessential staff out of its diplomatic posts in Iraq.
The root of the tensions between the two countries lays in Trump’s decision last year to withdraw the U.S. from the 2015 nuclear accord between Iran and world powers and impose wide-reaching sanctions, including on Iranian oil exports that are crucial to its economy.