Saudi Arabia’s crown prince warned in an interview aired on Sunday that a military confrontation with Iran would collapse the global economy, adding that he would prefer a political and peaceful solution to a military one, Al-Jazeera reported.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told the U.S.-based CBS program 60 Minutes that crude prices could spike to “unimaginably high numbers” in case of an armed conflict.
“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 (gross domestic product),” the crown prince, also known as MBS, said.
“Imagine all of these three things stop. This means a total collapse of the global economy, and not just Saudi Arabia or the Middle East countries.”
Analysts say Saudi Arabia is using Iran as a scapegoat for its repeated failures in the region, especially its ill-fated war against Yemenis.
MBS urged the world to take “strong and firm action to deter Iran” and prevent the situation from escalating further.
MBS also said that he agreed with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s conclusion that the September 14 attacks on the kingdom’s oil facilities were an act of war by Iran.
The United States, European powers and Saudi Arabia have also blamed the attacks on Iran.
Tehran has strongly denied any involvement, demanding proof, while Yemen’s armed group, the Houthis, has claimed responsibility.
In view of the incidents happening in the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman, the Iranian president has proposed the “Hormuz Peace Endeavor”, also called HOPE, to allay security concerns in the region with the involvement of all littoral states.
The Iranian Foreign Ministry announced on Monday that eight countries have been invited to join the initiative.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani warned world leaders on Wednesday at the UN General Assembly that “the Persian Gulf region is on the edge of collapse, as a single blunder can fuel a big fire.”
In the same interview, MBS, however, said that he preferred a peaceful resolution because it “is much better than the military one.”
He said that U.S. President Donald Trump should meet with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to craft a new deal on Tehran’s nuclear program and influence across the Middle East.
In a possible sign of diplomacy, Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi announced that he would visit Tehran soon, in an effort to reduce tension in the region, according to Iraqi media.
“Abdul Mahdi, who has arrived from Saudi Arabia wants to invite Saudi Crown Prince bin Salman and the Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to Baghdad for a meeting,” he was quoted as saying.
Earlier, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan said that he was also making an effort to mediate between Tehran and Riyadh. He held talks with Saudi Arabia’s leaders in Riyadh, as well as with Rouhani at the United Nations.
In the 60 Minutes program, the crown prince also denied ordering the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018.
“Absolutely not,” when asked if he ordered the murder. But he said he took full responsibility, “since it was committed by individuals working for the Saudi government.”