Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, accused Iran of being behind the attack on Aramco oil facilities earlier this month, adding if the world does not come together to deter Iran, but said he would prefer a political solution to a military one.
Speaking to the CBS program “60 Minutes,” he agreed with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that the September 14 attacks were an act of war by Iran.
But he said he preferred a peaceful resolution because a war between Saudi Arabia and Iran would collapse the global economy.
“If the world does not take a strong and firm action to deter Iran, we will see further escalations that will threaten world interests,” the Crown Prince said in the interview that was conducted on Tuesday.
“Oil supplies will be disrupted and oil prices will jump to unimaginably high numbers that we haven’t seen in our lifetimes.”
The United States, European powers and Saudi Arabia have blamed the attacks on Iran. Tehran has denied any involvement. Instead, the Iran-aligned Yemeni Houthi militias claimed responsibility.
“The political and peaceful solution is much better than the military one,” said the Crown Prince.
Asked what he believe is the strategic reason for Iran to attack the oil facilities, he replied: “I believe it's stupidity. There is no strategic goal. Only a fool would attack 5% of global supplies. The only strategic goal is to prove that they are stupid and that is what they did.”
He warned against a war with Iran, noting: “The region represents about 30% of the world's energy supplies, about 20% of global trade passages, about 4% of the world GDP. Imagine all of these three things stop. This means a total collapse of the global economy, and not just Saudi Arabia or the Middle East countries.”
“If the world does not take a strong and firm action to deter Iran, we will see further escalations that will threaten world interests.”
Asked about the murder of Saudi citizen Jamal Khashoggi last year, he described the crime as “heinous”, stressing: “When a crime is committed against a Saudi citizen by officials, working for the Saudi government, as a leader I must take responsibility. This was a mistake. And I must take all actions to avoid such a thing in the future.”
“The investigations are being carried out, and once charges are proven against someone, regardless of their rank, it will be taken to court, no exception made.”
Commenting on Yemen, the Crown Prince said the solution lies with Iran ceasing its support for the Houthis. Once it does so, “the political solution will be much easier.”
“Today we are open to all initiatives for a political solution in Yemen. We hope this happens today rather than tomorrow,” he added.
Saudi Arabia is exerting daily efforts to negotiate peace in Yemen and “the Houthis a few days ago announced a ceasefire, from their side, we consider it a positive step to push for more serious and active political dialogue,” he remarked.