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The Interview

'Difficult to be optimistic about Iran,' Saudi former intelligence chief tells FRANCE 24

The former head of Saudi intelligence, Prince Turki al-Faisal, told FRANCE 24 in The Hague that he was pessimistic about the prospects for a successful negotiation between the US and Iran, calling Iran "a disruptive force" in the region. He also accused Tehran of being behind this week's attack by Houthi rebels on a Saudi airport and said he saw no chance for a peaceful solution in Yemen in the near future.

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"I'm always hopeful that sensibility can be achieved in the minds of [the] Iranian leadership. However, from their past practice and how they have continued to be a disruptive force in the area, it's difficult to be optimistic about their actions," Saudi Arabia's former intelligence chief, Prince Turki al-Faisal, told FRANCE 24's Marc Perelman.

Turning to the Middle East peace process, Prince Turki said he was waiting for US President Donald Trump to unveil his much-touted "deal of the century" between Israel and the Palestinians. He also denied that the Saudis had abandoned their support for core Palestinian demands in exchange for a rapprochement with Israel.

On the issue of relations with Qatar, Prince Turki lamented that he had seen "no change" in the Qatari position, two years after a Saudi-led coalition imposed an embargo on the country.

Finally, he insisted that the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was carried out by "rogue elements" and forcefully denied claims that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the killing.

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