by WorldTribune Staff, May 3, 2017
There can be no rapprochement with Iran under current conditions, Saudi Arabia’s deputy crown prince said on May 2.
“How can we get along with a regime which has an extremist ideology … and a profound wish to dominate the Muslim world and spread the Shi’ite faith?” Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said in an interview on MBC television.
The 31-year-old Prince Mohammed, who has become one of Sunni-majority Saudi’s most powerful figures since being named deputy crown prince two years ago, said “there are no points of convergence” with Teheran, whose principle aim is to harm the kingdom.
The prince also said during the interview that Saudi Arabia could withstand a long war in Yemen, where the Saudi-led Arab coalition fights in support of pro-government forces against Iran-backed Houthi rebels.
“The Houthis and their allies could be rooted out in several days but the cost would be thousands of dead among our soldiers and losses too high among the Yemeni civilians,” the prince said.
He added that “a long war is in our interest,” as the coalition has the advantage in arms supply and financing.
Prince Mohammed has also found a closer ally in Washington in President Donald Trump, whom he met at the White House in March.
The appointment of Prince Khaled bin Salman, the son of King Salman, as Saudi ambassador to the U.S. gives Trump a direct line to the Saudi monarchy, a further sign of warmer U.S.-Saudi relations between the two after a cooling following the Obama administration’s nuclear agreement with Iran.