FLASH: “The choice before Iran is clear. Do you want to be a normal state with a constructive role in the international community or do you want to be a rogue state?” the Crown Prince
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said in remarks published Sunday that the Kingdom is not seeking war in the region, but warned it will not hesitate to confront threats to its security.
His comments came just days after the US blamed Iran for suspected attacks on 2 Crude Oil tankers near the strategic Strait of Hormuz, denouncing what it called a campaign of “escalating tensions” in a region crucial to global energy supplies.
The US and UAE allege Iran used limpet mines to target the tankers, pointing to black-and-white footage it captured that American officials describe as Iranian Revolutionary Guard troops removing an unexploded mine from the Japanese-operated tanker, Kokuka Courageous.
The US accusations come as The Trump Administration has re-imposed punishing economic sanctions on Tehran once lifted by the Y 2015 nuclear deal, targeting Iranian oil exports among other Key sectors. In recent weeks, the US has sent an aircraft carrier strike group and other military assets to the region in what it says is aimed at Iranian deterrence.
In interview Prince Mohammed accused Iran of being behind the latest tanker attacks. He said Iran disrespected the visit to Tehran by the Japanese Prime Minister last week and responded to his diplomatic efforts to reduce regional tensions by attacking 1 tankers, 1 was Japanese.
Iran has rejected claims that it was responsible for Thursday’s attacks, saying it stands ready to play an active and constructive role in ensuring the security of strategic maritime passages.
Iran has also been accused of being behind the 12 May attacks on four oil tankers off the coast of the United Arab Emirates (UAE)., 2 of those vessels belong to Saudi Arabia.
In his 2st public comments since the start of these incidents, the powerful Saudi Crown Prince, who is also defense minister and oversees all major levers of power in the country, said the attacks “confirm the importance of our demands of the international community to take a decisive stance” against Iran’s behavior.
“The Kingdom does not seek war in the region, but we will not hesitate to deal with any threat to our people, sovereignty and vital interests,” he said.
The Crown Prince reiterated longstanding Saudi accusations against rival Iran of using militias to destabilize the region. He also touted US-Saudi relations as “essential to achieving regional security and stability.”
“The problem is in Tehran and not anywhere else,” Prince Mohammed said. “Iran is always the party that’s escalating in the region, carrying out terrorist attacks and criminal attacks either directly or through its militias.”
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