Saudi Prince Says Iran Wants to Control the Muslim World

  • Prince Mohammed appears to rule out rapprochment with Iran
  • Saudi Arabia engaged in proxy wars with Iran in Middle East

Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman accused Iran of seeking to control the Muslim world, in remarks that appear to rule out any rapprochement with the Islamic Republic.

“How can I converse with” Iran, Prince Mohammed, 31, said in an interview with Saudi-owned MBC television, which will be aired in full on Tuesday night. He said Iran is preparing the ground for the arrival of the Mahdi, a prophesied Shiite savior, and wants to “control the Muslim world.”

The world’s biggest oil exporter and Iran are on the opposing sides of major Middle East crises, including the conflicts in Syria and Iraq. The kingdom is bogged down in a two-year war in Yemen, where it’s been trying to restore the rule of an internationally-recognized government against Shiite rebels aligned with Iran.

“The problem with Saudi Arabia is that it’s seeking to create tensions,” said Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, whose country has criticized the kingdom’s military offensive in Yemen. “We are not after conflicts with Saudi Arabia.”

Iran isn’t opposed to having a mediator to try to ease frictions with Saudi Arabia, Zarif said in the interview with the Iranian Students’ News Agency published on Tuesday, though he also added that he doesn’t see mediation as the key issue. “What is needed is for Saudi officials to change their thinking and approach,” he said.

Saudi Arabia’s Prince Mohammed, who is also the country’s defense minister, said last year that the warring parties were likely to resolve the Yemen conflict soon.

The prince also discussed Saudi economic developments, according to MBC, which posted parts of the interview on Twitter.

— With assistance by Deena Kamel, and Ladane Nasseri

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