During a recent visit to the United States, Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman of Saudi Arabia renewed his attack on the Iran nuclear deal, noting that the deal was just delaying the eventual nuclear weapons within the control of the Iranian regime.
“Delaying it and watching them getting that bomb, that means you are waiting for the bullet to reach your head,” said Prince Mohammed, during his first meeting with editors and reporters from The New York Times. “So you have to move from today.”
While Iran was not the only aim of his trip to the U.S., it was clear that he was not going to avoid the topic. In the meantime, the Prince was also using the trip to reinforce the relationship between the kingdom and the United States.
He also discussed his plans for economic and social changes within Saudi Arabia, as well as its conflicts with not only Iran, but also Qatar and Yemen.
Obviously, the relationship between Saudi Arabia and Iran has been full of tension, and his most forceful comments focused on calling Iran to account for a variety of actions, from Syria to Yemen and throughout the region.
“We know the target of Iran,” said Prince Mohammed. “If they have a nuclear weapon, it’s a shield for them to let them do whatever they want in the Middle East, to make sure that no one attacks them or they will use their nuclear weapons.”
He also sought to paint a positive picture of the Saudi-led coalition offensive in behalf of the internationally recognized Yemen government against the rebel Houthis. There have been accusations from Western nations and UN researchers that Iran is helping the Houthis by arming them. Iran denies this. The U.S. currently provides logistical support and weaponry to the Saudi coalition.
Prince Mohammed also met with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to discuss Yemen and deliver a previously pledged $930 million contribution from the kingdom and Emiratito humanitarian efforts in Yemen. The men also discussed protecting civilians, allowing humanitarian access, keeping ports open, and working toward a political settlement.
Fresh from visits to Washington and Boston, Prince Mohammed headed to New York City, to attend a CEO Summit. It is clear that he is looking for backers willing to invest in the kingdom, which has an economy that is dominated by the oil and gas it produces. However, it is clear that the Prince has plans to move away from an energy focused economy.