Riyadh: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman said he "won't hesitate" to tackle threats to the kingdom, in his first comment amid ongoing tensions with rival Iran following attacks on oil tankers in a vital Gulf shipping channel.
"We do not want a war in the region... But we won't hesitate to deal with any threat to our people, our sovereignty, our territorial integrity and our vital interests," Prince Mohamad said in excerpts published early Sunday of an interview with pan-Arab daily Asharq Al Awsat.
The attacks on Thursday on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman sent crude prices soaring amid a tense standoff between Iran and the US.
The Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous was carrying highly flammable methanol through the Gulf of Oman when it was rocked by explosions, causing a blaze that was quickly extinguished
Iran has repeatedly warned in the past that it could block the strategic Hormuz Strait in a relatively low-tech, high-impact countermeasure to any attack by the United States.
Doing so would disrupt oil tankers travelling out of the Gulf region to the Indian Ocean and global export routes.
Prince Mohammad stressed that the attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf, the targeting of oil facilities and the attack on Abha airport in the kingdom "stresses the importance of our demands from the international community to take a firm stance" on the behaviour of the Iranian regime.