Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) has accused archrival Iran of attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman, adding he “won’t hesitate” to tackle any threats to the kingdom.
“We do not want a war in the region… But we won’t hesitate to deal with any threat to our people, our sovereignty, our territorial integrity and our vital interests,” MBS told pan-Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat in an interview published on Sunday.
“The Iranian regime did not respect the presence of the Japanese prime minister as a guest in Tehran and responded to his (diplomatic) efforts by attacking two tankers, one of which was Japanese,” MBS added in his first public comments since the attacks.
“It also employed its militias to carry out a heinous attack against Abha Airport. This is clear evidence of the Iranian regime’s policy and intentions to target the security and stability of the region,” added the crown prince.
Saudi Arabia has accusedIran of arming the Houthis, who claimed responsibility for a missile strike on a Saudi airport in the city of Abha that the kingdom said wounded 26 passengers last week.
Salman’s government is currently at the head of a coalition involved in a bloody, four-year war with Iran-backed Houthi militia in Yemen, which has led to one of the biggest humanitarian crises in the world.
“It is the assessment of the United States government that the Islamic Republic of Iran is responsible for the attacks that occurred in the Gulf of Oman today,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had said.
The Crown Prince said that Saudi Arabia “places great importance on the strategic ties with the US,” considering it a “main factor in achieving regional security and stability.”
During the 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.”