WASHINGTON: Iran is a “threat” and aims to destroy the Saudi state, the Kingdom’s former intelligence chief has warned.
Prince Turki Al-Faisal, former Saudi ambassador and chief of the General Intelligence Directorate, said that Iran had boasted about its interference in regional states.
“I don't think they threaten our existence. But definitely, their ambition is to destroy the Saudi state. And this is not new. This is from the time of (the former Supreme Leader of Iran) Khomeini,” Prince Turki told NPR.
Prince Turki pointed to Iran’s alleged interference in regional countries including Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen.
“Iran has not hesitated to interfere in all of these countries, and they boast about it. It's not something that they hide or that they shy from mentioning … Their leadership has boasted about controlling four Arab capitals,” he said.
Prince Turki also said that the Iran-backed Houthi militias had tried to take over Yemen by military force.
“The Kingdom responded to the appeal of the legitimate government in Yemen to provide military support to help them push back on this Houthi-cum-Iranian interference in trying to take over in Yemen,” he said.
“Yemen is bordering Saudi Arabia. Imagine if Mexico or Canada had started interfering in the affairs of the United States. What would the reaction of America be? It would be to defend itself. Yes, it is complicated. And yes, we are paying a price for that. But I think it is a justifiable defense of our interests.”