Saudi prince warns oil price could spike to 'unimaginably high numbers' if Iran isn't stopped
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said war with Iran could collapse the global economy. (Reuters via Saudi Royal Court)
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman warns that oil prices could spike to “unimaginably high numbers” if the world does not come together to deter Iran, but says he prefers a political solution to a military one.
- Saudi crown prince warns of escalation of oil prices over Iran conflict
- Mohammed bin Salman says he prefers a peaceful solution
- Prince Mohammed denies involvement in journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s death a year ago
“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 said.
In an interview with America’s 60 Minutes broadcast on Sunday, Prince Mohammed also said he agreed with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that the September 14 attacks, which damaged the world’s biggest petroleum-processing facility and knocked out more than 5 per cent of global oil supply, were an act of war by Iran.
The United States, European powers and Saudi Arabia have previously blamed the attacks on Iran, but Tehran has denied any involvement. Instead, the Iran-aligned Yemeni Houthi rebel group claimed responsibility.
“Oil supplies will be disrupted and oil prices will jump to unimaginably high numbers that we haven’t seen in our lifetimes,” Prince Mohammed said.
Prince Mohammed said he preferred a peaceful resolution with Iran because a war between Saudi Arabi and Iran could collapse the global economy.
“The political and peaceful solution is much better than the military one,” he said.
The crown prince also said US 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.
Efforts to bring the two together last week at the United Nations General Assembly failed. Tensions between Washington and Tehran have escalated over the US withdrawal from an Iranian nuclear deal and its reinstatement of sanctions against Tehran.
Saudi crown prince denies involvement in Jamal Khashoggi’s death
Days before the anniversary of the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in a Saudi consulate in Turkey, Prince Mohammed denied that he ordered the killing of Khashoggi by Saudi operatives, but said he ultimately bears “full responsibility” as the leader of his country.
Jamal Khashoggi was last seen at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2 before his death (AP: Virginia Mayo, File)
While Khashoggi’s death sparked a global uproar and tarnished the crown prince’s reputation, US policy towards Saudi Arabia has been more recently dominated by the Trump Administration’s tense standoff with Iran, especially after the September 14 attacks on the heartland of the Saudi oil industry.
Prince Mohammed replied, “absolutely not,” when asked if he ordered the murder.
“This was a mistake. And I must take all actions to avoid such a thing in the future,” the crown prince said of the killing, which he called “heinous”.
After initial denials, the official Saudi narrative blamed the murder on rogue operatives. The public prosecutor said the then-deputy intelligence chief ordered the repatriation of Khashoggi, a royal insider who became an outspoken critic, but the lead negotiator ordered him killed after discussions for his return failed.
When Prince Mohammed was asked how the killing could have happened without his knowledge, he said:
“Some think that I should know what 3 million people working for the Saudi government do daily? It’s impossible that the 3 million would send their daily reports to the leader or the second-highest person in the Saudi government.”
He insisted that “the investigations are being carried out, and once charges are proven against someone, regardless of their rank, it will be taken to court”.
Eleven Saudi suspects have been put on trial in secretive proceedings but only a few hearings have been held. A UN report has called for Prince Mohammed and other senior Saudi officials to be investigated.
Khashoggi was last seen at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2, where he was to receive papers ahead of his wedding. His body was dismembered and removed from the building, according to reports, and his remains have not been found.