Saudi Arabia’s deputy crown prince said in a recent interview that dialogue between his nation and Iran is impossible because of the latter’s “extremist ideology,” The New York Times reported Wednesday.
Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who serves as Riyadh’s defense minister and is second in line to the throne, said his country is “a primary target for the Iranian regime,” and charged that Iran sought to control holy Islamic shrines in Saudi Arabia. “We won’t wait for the battle to be in Saudi Arabia,” Prince Mohammed said, “instead, we’ll work so that the battle is for them in Iran.”
The prince pointed to the Shiite belief in Imam Mahdi, or the hidden imam, who is believed will return to save the world from destruction.
“Their stance is that the awaited Mahdi will come, and they need to create a fertile environment for the arrival of the awaited Mahdi, and they need to take over the Islamic world,” Prince Mohammed said. “Where are the common points that we might be able to reach an understanding on with this regime?”
The television interview, which was broadcast on several Saudi-owned satellite channels simultaneously, was the second given by the prince since his father, King Salman, assumed the throne in January 2015. In addition to appointing his son defense minister, the king put him in charge of a state-owned oil company and of an initiative called Vision 2030, which aims to reduce Saudi Arabia’s dependence on oil and improve living conditions in the kingdom.
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