Bin Salman called Iran’s Khamenei “the new Hitler of the Middle East” in an interview with the New York Times, sharply escalating the war of words between the two rival countries.
Saudi Arabia’s powerful Crown Prince called the Supreme Leader of Iran “the new Hitler of the Middle East” in an interview with the New York Times published on Thursday, sharply escalating the war of words between the arch-rivals.
The Sunni Muslim kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Shi’ite theocracy Iran back rival sides in wars and political crises throughout the region.
Mohammed bin Salman, who is also Saudi defense minister in the U.S.-allied oil giant kingdom, suggested the Islamic Republic’s alleged expansion under Ayatollah Ali Khamenei needed to be confronted.
“But we learned from Europe that appeasement doesn’t work. We don’t want the new Hitler in Iran to repeat what happened in Europe in the Middle East,” the paper quoted him as saying.
Bin Salman accuses Iran of aggression
The heir to Saudi Arabia’s throne accused Iran of “direct military aggression” which could be an “act of war,” after Saudi air defense forces intercepted a ballistic missile early November fired toward the capital, Riyadh, from across the border in Yemen.
Yemen has been embroiled in a civil war since 2015 between a Saudi-led military coalition in support of the Yemeni government, and Houthi rebels believed to be funded by Iran.
“The involvement of Iran in supplying missiles to the Houthis is a direct military aggression by the Iranian regime,” the Saudi news agency SPA reported Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman as saying, “and may be considered an act of war against the Kingdom.” The language closely matched a statement earlier given by the Saudi-led coalition.