Prince Khalid bin Salman: Iran’s influence is a result of terrorism and expansionism
Riyadh has developed a relationship with USthat promotes counter strategies to the Iranian escalation to avoid a regionalwar, said Saudi Arabia's Deputy Minister of Defense Prince Khalid bin Salmanin a inclusive interview, published by Al Arabiya English, in whichhe also discussed Yemen and Lebanon.
"The Saudi-US relationship is strong and it has been strong forseven decades," said Prince Khalid who also pointed to the importance of USPresident Donald Trump's visit to Saudi Arabia and cooperation oncounterterrorism in the region.
Iran works to undermine regionalstability while Saudi Arabia is motivated by a "forward-moving vision," epitomizedby the Vision 2030 reform plan, Prince Khalid in an interview with VICE mediachannel conducted on July 27, 2018.
"We have Vision 2030, they havevision 1979," he said, referring to the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iranwhich led to the establishment of the current regime.
"Iran wants to export therevolution. Iran has an expansionist ideology. Iran wants other states in theregion not to be partners, but to be under the Iranian expansionist project," addedPrince Khalid.
One way in which Iran has promotedits malign influence is through terrorism, said Prince Khalid, who said theIranian regime and its proxies, and ISIS and al-Qaeda, were the two mainterrorist threats to the region and "two sides of the same coin."
Prince Khalid was also asked about Saudi Arabia and Iran'srespective role in Lebanon and Yemen.
"We send tourists to Lebanon, Iran sends terrorists to Lebanon. Wesend businessmen, Iran sends military advisers," he said, referring to Iran's militaryand political support for Lebanon's Hezbollah, which is recognized as aterrorist organization by countries including the US and UK.
"We want the Lebanese people to advance, to be a prosperouscountry. Iran wants Lebanon to fight its own wars. Iran wants Lebanon to betheir own expansionist project in Tehran," he added.
When asked about the conflict in Yemen, Prince Khalid said thatSaudi Arabia had become involved to end the war, which he said was started whenthe Houthis moved south and started "killing and slaughtering the Yemeni peopleand threatening the central government of Yemen."
Prince Khalid added that Saudi Arabia remained committed to apolitical solution to the conflict in line with UN Security Council resolution2216, which calls for the UN-recognized government to reestablish control overthe country.
"[The Houthis] need to choose between being an Iranian militia inYemen, another Hezbollah in Yemen, launching ballistic missiles and havingheavy weapons, or being a political party in Yemen. We want them to be part ofYemen, not part of Iran," he said.
"We need to pressure the Iranian regime to stop these [malign regional] activities that will lead us to a bigger conflict. If we do nothing, just like we did in the past years, it will lead us to a bigger conflict," he added.