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Mon 30 Sep 2019 07:57 AM

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War with Iran would bring down global economy, says Saudi Crown Prince

Prince Mohammed said he's in favour of US President Donald Trump and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani holding face-to-face talks

War with Iran would bring down global economy, says Saudi Crown Prince
“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 prince said in an interview for CBS’s “60 Minutes” on Sunday.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman warned that war between his country and Iran would lead to a “total collapse of the global economy” and said he prefers non-military pressure to stymie Iranian ambitions.

“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 prince said in an interview for CBS’s “60 Minutes” on Sunday.

“Oil prices will jump to unimaginably high numbers that we haven’t seen in our lifetimes,” he said, adding that a “political and peaceful solution is much better than the military one.”

The September 14 aerial attacks on two Saudi oil installations that knocked out almost 5% of global supply, which the US and Saudi Arabia blamed on Iran, were motivated by “stupidity,” the prince said. “There is no strategic goal. Only a fool would attack 5% of global supplies.”

The prince said he took “full responsibility” for the murder of government critic and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. Asked how he could have been unaware of the operation, he said he can’t know “what 3 million people working for the Saudi government do daily.”

Tense relations

“This was a mistake,” the prince said. “And I must take all actions to avoid such a thing in the future.”

The question of the prince’s role in the murder has particularly weighed on the kingdom’s relations with the US, a key ally. President Trump has shielded the prince even as Congress condemned Saudi Arabia.

Prince Mohammed first spoke publicly about the killing in October last year at an investor conference in Riyadh, calling it a “heinous crime” and promising that the killers would be brought to justice.

He reiterated calls for Iran to stop backing Shiite militants in Yemen in a war that’s killed thousands and triggered one the world’s worst humanitarian disasters.

“First, if Iran stops its support of the Houthi militia, the political solution will be much easier,” the prince said. “Today we open all initiatives for a political solution in Yemen.”

He said he’s in favour of US President Donald Trump and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani holding face-to-face talks. Trump had talked up the possibility of meeting Rouhani until the attack on Saudi oil fields. Iran has denied involvement in the strikes.