Saudi Arabia’s deputy crown prince has said that there is no space for dialogue with Iran due to their ambitions to control the Islamic world”.
The rare and wide-ranging interview that was broadcast on several Saudi TV channels, which offers a look at how Mohammed bin Salman al-Saud’s views on the kingdom of the upper part of the opponent. It also laid bare the breadth of their portfolio and powers.
Mohammed bin Salman: the prince trying to wean Saudi Arabia of oil
The 31-year-old prince, who was named in 2015 by his father, King Salman, as a possible heir to the throne of Saudi Arabia the minister of defense, the oversight of the war in Yemen against a rebel group aligned with Iran. It also oversees economic affairs, and is behind a bold program for the review of the Saudi economy.
The framing of the tensions with Iran in sectarian terms, he said that it is Tehran’s objective to “control the Islamic world” and to spread its doctrine Shia in preparation for the arrival of a revered imam named Mohammed al-Mahdi. The shia Muslims believe al-Mahdi, the 12th and last imam of Shia, who disappeared in the ninth century, a day reappear to bring justice to the world.
When asked if he sees a possibility for direct dialogue with Iran, the prince replied: “How can I reach an understanding with someone, or of a regime, which has an anchoring belief built on an extremist ideology? What are the interests between us? How can I reach an understanding with this?” he said.
Iran and Saudi Arabia rivalry has played in proxy wars throughout the region. Copy of the opposing sides of the wars in Syria and Yemen, and the support of its political rivals in Lebanon, Bahrain and Iraq. The conflicts have exacerbated Sunni-Shia enmity between the radicals of both sides.
The ties between Saudi Arabia and Iran have been strained since the iranian revolution of 1979, with each side competing to be the most powerful force in the Muslim world. Tensions escalated last year, with Saudi Arabia to the execution of a local Shia cleric, loosing the looting of the embassy of Saudi arabia in Iran by protesters. The two countries cut off diplomatic and trade links.
“We know that we have a primary goal of Iran,” Prince Mohammed said. “We can’t wait until it becomes a battle in Saudi Arabia, so we’re going to work to become a battle for them in Iran and not in Saudi Arabia.”
Yemen in the ‘point of no return’ as the conflict left nearly 7 million close to starvation
In Yemen, the prince defended the kingdom’s decision to go to war, which is costing Saudi Arabia tens of millions of dollars a day, according to some estimates. The conflict has worsened the already bulging humanitarian crisis in Yemen and killed thousands of civilians, mainly as a result of the Saudi-led coalition air strikes.
Experts say that more than two years that lasted the war has reached a stalemate. Saudi Arabia and its allies have not been able to dislodge the Iranians-an ally of the rebels, known as Houthis in the capital Sana’a and other major cities.
When asked about this, Prince Mohammed said that the Houthis might be uprooted “in a matter of days.” However, he said that Saudi Arabia has not sent ground troops to retake the capital and other major cities, because this would lead to thousands of deaths between Saudi soldiers and civilians Yemeni.
“Time is on our side. Patience is on our side,” he said.