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Saudi Crown Prince calls for stepping up pressure on Iran's Mullah regime

File - Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman bin Abdel Aziz Al Saud
Saudi Crown Prince calls for stepping up pressure on Iran's Mullah regime
Saudi Arabia’s crown prince called on the international community to squeeze Iran economically and politically to avoid a direct military confrontation in the region, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Sanctions “will create more pressure on the regime,” Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said.

Saudi Arabia has been a fierce critic of the deal the US former president Obama administration and other world powers made in 2015 to lift some crippling economic sanctions on Iran in exchange for limits on its nuclear program.

Under Prince Mohammed, Saudi Arabia has severed diplomatic ties with Iran and pressured countries in the Middle East and Africa to curtail their relationships with Tehran, accusing it of meddling in Arab affairs.

“We have to succeed so as to avoid military conflict,” said Prince Mohammed. “If we don’t succeed in what we are trying to do, we will likely have war with Iran in 10-15 years.”

Iran has emerged as a more potent force in the Middle East following the nuclear deal and the dismantling of ISIS, building its influence in Syria and Iraq, and allegedly supplying Yemeni Houthi terrorists with weaponry used against Saudi Arabia in a three-year war.

Iran denies giving weapons to Yemeni rebels and says Saudi Arabia is the one playing a destabilizing role in the region.

President Donald Trump, who met Prince Mohammed in Washington last week, has threatened to scrap the nuclear deal and has nominated critics of the pact to top positions recently, including Mike Pompeo as secretary of state and John Bolton as national security adviser. European allies have pushed to keep the deal in place.

Under Prince Mohammed, who also serves as the kingdom’s defense minister, Saudi Arabia leads a military coalition that has been fighting a war in Yemen for three years, since Iran-aligned Houthi terrorists ousted from the capital the internationally-recognized government of Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi.

Prince Mohammed said failure to intervene in Yemen would have caused a bigger crisis.

“If we didn’t act in 2015 we would have had Yemen divided in half between the Houthis and al-Qaeda,” Prince Mohammed said.

The prince’s comments came amid an escalation in the battle with Yemeni Houthi. Over the weekend, Houthis fired a barrage of missiles into Saudi Arabia, including three that were aimed at Riyadh, resulting in one death. It was the first time that missiles fired from Yemen caused casualties in the Saudi capital.

The prince dismissed the attacks as a sign of weakness. “They want to do whatever they can do before they collapse,” he said of the Houthis.