RIYADH - Saudi Arabia’s crown prince warned in an interview broadcast on Sunday that oil prices could spike to “unimaginably high numbers” if the world doesn’t come together to deter Iran, but said he preferred a political solution to a military one.
Speaking to the CBS program “60 Minutes,” Mohammed bin Salman also denied ordering the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi operatives last year, but said he ultimately bears “full responsibility” as the kingdom’s de facto leader.
While Khashoggi’s death sparked a global uproar and tarnished the crown prince’s reputation, the Trump administration’s tense standoff with Saudi arch-foe Iran has more recently dominated U.S. policy toward Riyadh, especially after Sept. 14 attacks on the heart of the Saudi oil industry.
“If the world does not take a strong and firm action to deter Iran, we will see further escalations that will threaten world interests,” Prince Mohammed, known as MbS, said through a translator. “Oil supplies will be disrupted and oil prices will jump to unimaginably high numbers that we haven’t seen in our lifetimes.”
In an interview conducted on Tuesday in Saudi Arabia, he said he agreed with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that the attacks, which knocked out more than 5% of global oil supply, were an act of war by Iran.
But he said he preferred a peaceful resolution because regional war would collapse the global economy. The United States, European powers and Saudi Arabia have blamed the attacks on Iran, which denies involvement. Instead, Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi group claimed responsibility.
MbS also said President Donald Trump should meet Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to craft a new deal on Tehran’s nuclear program and regional activities.
Efforts to bring the two together last week at the United Nations failed. Tensions between Washington and Tehran escalated after the U.S. withdrew last year from a 2015 nuclear deal and reinstated sanctions against Tehran.(FA)