SAUDI Arabia has said it will “do whatever it takes” to protect itself against Iran, as tension in the Gulf continue to rise.
The country’s Foreign Affairs Minister Adel al-Jubeir also claimed Iran had helped set up militia cells in a number of countries with the aim of causing terrorist attacks.
He said: “We have a responsibility to defend our country and to ensure no harm comes to our country, our people or our residents.
“So we will do whatever it takes to prevent our country from sustaining damages.”
But he added: “Preparing for war is always the last option.”
Speaking to Sky News, he said: “The Iranians have engaged in aggressive behaviour for 40 years. They have destroyed Lebanon through Hezbollah.
“They have sent militias to destroy Syria. They have militias in Iraq, they have militias in Yemen.
We will do whatever it takes to prevent our country from sustaining damages
Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir
The UN, Gulf Arab nations and the US accuse Iran of supplying arms to the Houthis in South Yemen, something Tehran denies.
He added: “They provide these terrorist groups with ballistic missiles and drones. They have set up cells in various countries – Kuwait, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and other countries to cause terrorist attacks.
“All we want is for Iran to stop acting like a revolution and to start acting like a nation state. Stop supporting terrorists. Stop providing ballistic missiles to terrorist groups and militias. Stop your nuclear programme. Become a normal country. Let the world accept you as a nation in good standing.”
Mr al-Jubeir’s comments come after the chief commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard said his soldiers were ready for combat in “any scenario”.
On Saturday, General Hossein Salami, at a ceremony displaying pieces of an American drone Iran shot down in June, said that his forces have carried out “war exercises and are ready for any scenario.”
He added: “If anyone crosses our borders, we will hit them.”
His comments echo the country’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif who warned at a UN meeting in New York that any retaliatory strike on Iran by the US or Saudi Arabia will result in “an all-out war.”
‘READY FOR ANY SCENARIO’
The latest round in the war of words was sparked by the collapse of the country’s nuclear deal with the world powers and the US allegations Iran was behind a weekend attack on major oil sites in Saudi Arabia which rocked energy prices around the world.
Already, Kuwait has raised the readiness of its armed forces and increased security at its ports.
President Donald Trump signalled on Friday that he was not inclined to authorise an immediate military strike on Iran in response to the attacks on the Saudi oil industry, saying he believes showing restraint “shows far more strength” and he wants to avoid an all-out war.
The Pentagon said the US will deploy additional troops and military equipment to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to beef up security.
Trump, who withdrew the US from the nuclear deal more than a year ago, said separately Friday that the US “just sanctioned the Iranian national bank.” He did not elaborate.
most read in world news
The US Treasury Department said it took action against the Central Bank of Iran.
Iran’s central bank chief, Abdolnasser Hemmati, sought to shrug off the new sanctions on Saturday.
According to the state-run IRNA news agency, Hemmati said re-imposing sanctions on Iran’s central bank shows the US has little leverage left.
We pay for your stories! Do you have a story for The Sun Online news team? Email us at [email protected] or call 0207 782 4368. You can WhatsApp us on 07810 791 502. We pay for videos too. Click here to upload yours.