Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia, the son of King Salman, has said that if Iran develops nuclear weapons, Saudi Arabia will follow suit. The heir made the comments to CBS’s Norah O’Donnell ahead of his scheduled trip to the United States to meet President Trump at the White House on 20 March.
In the interview, where the Crown Prince likens Iran’s Ayatollah Khamenei (Iran’s Supreme Leader) to Hitler, he said through a translator, “Saudi Arabia does not want to acquire any nuclear bomb, but without a doubt, if Iran developed a nuclear bomb, we will follow suit as soon as possible.”
He stated that Iran and Saudi Arabia were not rivals because Iran is “Iran is far from being equal to Saudi Arabia.”
Speaking on the Ayatollah, the Crown Prince said that the Supreme Leader “wants to create his own project in the Middle East, very much like Hitler who wanted to expand at the time.”
“Many countries around the world and in Europe did not realise how dangerous Hitler was until what happened, happened. I don’t want to see the same events happening in the Middle East,” His Royal Highness continued.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman also discussed other foreign policy, as well as social, economic and political reforms in the oil-rich country.
Tensions between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Republic of Iran have been tense for a significant period involving a host of issues including their views on the Islamic religion. Saudi Arabia follows Sunni Islam while Iran follows Shia Islam; Sunni and Shias have long been in conflict over their differing views of their faith. Diplomatic relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran ended after an attack on the Tehran’s Saudi Embassy in 2016.
Mohammed bin Salman was made Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia last year and has since helped bring in reforms, including allowing women to drive, and stamp out corruption in the absolute monarchist state – but not without criticism.
The full interview on CBS in the United States will air on Sunday night, 18 March on 60 Minutes at 7 pm EDT. This is the first American television interview with a Saudi royal and leader since 2005.