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The Interview

Saudi minister of foreign affairs: 'Iran’s policies are not acceptable and have to change'

In an interview with FRANCE 24, Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir said he was hopeful that any possibility of war between Iran and the US or its allies could still be avoided. He accused Iran of multiple provocations in the region and warned that Tehran’s aggressive behaviour could not continue without ramifications.

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“Everybody is trying to avoid war in the region," al-Jubeir told FRANCE 24. “War would be dangerous for everyone. However the escalation has always come from the Iranian side. Iran attacked tankers in the Gulf, not once but twice. Iran sent ballistic missiles and drones through its proxies the Houthis against Saudi Arabia’s oil pipeline and the Saudi airport. The Iranians have engaged in aggressive behaviour and threatening moves and so it’s really up to the Iranians to de-escalate”.

The minister refused to rule out a military response to Iran’s policy aggressions, arguing that Saudi Arabia had spent forty years trying to remedy hostilities through further talks, but without success. Though support for additional sanctions would definitely be on the table.

“I believe that anything that can be done to increase the pressure on Iran to change its policies should be done. I think they’re (the US) looking for sanctions involving perhaps the gas sector and I will leave this to the financial experts and the economic experts but the idea is to increase the pressure on Iran so that Iran knows that there’s a high price it has to pay and that its policies are not acceptable and have to change.”

In the case of murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi, he accused Agnes Callamard, the UN special rapporteur, of bias adding her report was riddled with contradictions. He stressed, however, that if more evidence was unearthed the investigation could potentially be widened to include those currently not on trial, including Saud al-Qahtani, a close aide to crown prince Mohammed Bin Salman, who has been accused of playing a central role in the killing.

Turning to the Trump administration’s proposed economic plan for the Middle East, he said he remained optimistic, despite the Palestinian authorities’ criticism of the plan for its lack of a political solution.

 

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