1240 GMT January 28, 2020
Saudi prince says war with Iran catastrophic, political solution ‘better’
Iran on Monday urged Saudi Arabia to end airstrikes on Yemen and said the kingdom had contacted President Hassan Rouhani through mediating countries.
“Messages from the Saudis were presented to Rouhani by some countries,” government spokesman Ali Rabiei said in a press conference in Tehran. “But we need to see clear signs from the Saudis.”
“If Saudi Arabia is really pursuing a change of behavior, Iran welcomes that,” he added.
The spokesman said Iran wants Saudi Arabia to end its air campaign on Yemen. “They need to stop their aggression against Yemen.”
Rabiei did not give any information on what the messages contained.
Collapse of global economy
Saudi Arabia’s crown prince warned in an interview broadcast on Sunday that war with Iran would devastate the global economy and he prefers a non-military solution to tensions with his regional rival.
Saudi Arabia and the US blame Iran for an attack on two Saudi oil facilities on Sept. 14, a charge the Islamic Republic denies.
“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 bin Salman told the CBS program “60 Minutes.”
“Oil supplies will be disrupted and oil prices will jump to unimaginably high numbers that we haven’t seen in our lifetimes,” he said.
The prince said a war between Saudi Arabia and Iran would be catastrophic for the world economy.
“The region represents about 30 percent of the world’s energy supplies, about 20 percent of global trade passages, about four percent of the world GDP. Imagine all of these three things stop,” he said.
“This means a total collapse of the global economy, and not just Saudi Arabia or the Middle East countries.”
The crown prince said he agreed with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that the attack on the kingdom’s oil facilities were an act of war by Iran.
But he said he preferred a peaceful resolution because that “is much better than the military one.”
The prince said the attack on Saudi oil facilities, for which Yemen’s Houthi movement claimed responsibility, had been senseless.
US President Donald Trump should meet with Rouhani to craft a new deal on the Iran nuclear program and regional influence, the crown prince said.
Reuters, AFP and Bloomberg contributed to this story.