Saudi Arabia’s crown prince said in an interview aired Sunday that war with Iran would devastate the global economy and he prefers a non-military solution to tensions with his regional rival.
“If the world does not take a strong and firm action to deter Iran, we will see further escalations that will threaten world interests,” Prince Mohammed bin Salman told the CBS program “60 Minutes.”
“Oil supplies will be disrupted and oil prices will jump to unimaginably high numbers that we haven’t seen in our lifetimes,” the prince said.
The prince said a war between Saudi Arabia and Iran would be catastrophic for the world economy.
“The region represents about 30 percent of the world’s energy supplies, about 20 percent of global trade passages, about four percent of the world GDP. Imagine all of these three things stop,” he said. “This means a total collapse of the global economy, and not just Saudi Arabia or the Middle East countries.”
He said a September 14 attack on Saudi oil facilities, which his country and the US blamed on Iran, had been senseless.
“There is no strategic goal. Only a fool would attack five percent of global supplies. The only strategic goal is to prove that they are stupid and that is what they did,” said the prince.
Prince Mohammed was asked point-blank if he ordered the killing and dismemberment of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in October last year.
“Absolutely not. This was a heinous crime. But I take full responsibility as a leader in Saudi Arabia, especially since it was committed by individuals working for the Saudi government,” he said. “When a crime is committed against a Saudi citizen by officials, working for the Saudi government, as a leader I must take responsibility. This was a mistake.”
Body never found
Prince Mohammed, the kingdom’s de facto ruler, has come under huge international pressure after the US-based writer was killed and dismembered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
Khashoggi’s body was never found.
The prince has said the killing was carried out without his knowledge.
Riyadh has repeatedly denied that Prince Mohammed was behind the murder of Khashoggi — a royal family insider turned critic and a US resident — who was killed in what Saudi authorities have described as a rogue operation.
A report by a UN human rights expert, who conducted an independent probe, said there was “credible evidence” linking the crown prince to the murder and an attempted cover up.
The CIA has also reportedly said the killing was likely ordered by Prince Mohammed.
But Saudi prosecutors have absolved the prince and said around two dozen people implicated in the murder are in custody, with death penalties sought against five men.