We will defend Ourselves: Saudis

Vastavam web: Saudi Arabia does not want war but will not hesitate to defend itself against Iran, a top Saudi diplomat said Sunday after the kingdom’s energy sector was targeted this past week amid heightened tensions in the Persian Gulf. US President Donald Trump, meanwhile, warned Iran that it will face destruction if it seeks a fight, while Iranian officials said their country isn’t looking for war. Trump spoke after a rocket hit near the US Embassy in Baghdad.

Adel al-Jubeir, the Saudi minister of state for foreign affairs, spoke a week after four oil tankers two of them Saudi were targeted in an alleged act of sabotage off the coast of the United Arab Emirates and days after Iran-allied Yemeni rebels claimed a drone attack on a Saudi oil pipeline.

“The kingdom of Saudi Arabia does not want war in the region and does not strive for that… but at the same time, if the other side chooses war, the kingdom will fight this with all force and determination and it will defend itself, its citizens and its interests,” al-Jubeir told reporters.

Earlier, after initial reports of the attack, Trump tweeted a warning to Iranian leaders: “If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!” Trump tweeted.

A senior Iranian military commander was quoted as saying his country is not looking for war, in comments published in Iranian media on Sunday.

Fears of armed conflict were already running high after the White House ordered warships and bombers to the region earlier this month to counter an alleged, unexplained threat from Iran. The US also has ordered nonessential staff out of its diplomatic posts in Iraq.

Trump had appeared to soften his tone in recent days, saying he expected Iran to seek negotiations with his administration. Asked on Thursday if the US might be on a path to war with Iran, the president answered, “I hope not.” Sunday night’s apparent rocket attack was the first such incident since September, when three mortar shells landed in an abandoned lot inside the Green Zone.