Published On: Fri, Nov 24th, 2017

Saudi crown prince calls Iran’s supreme leader ‘new Hitler’

Riyadh: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has called Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as the “new Hitler of the Middle East” amid heightened tensions between the two countries.

He said Saudi Arabia was slowly building a coalition with its allies to “stand up to Iran”

In an interview to the New York Times, Salman said Iran could not be allowed to spread its influence and that it was important to avoid a repeat “of what happened in Europe in the Middle East”.

“We learnt 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.

He said Saudi Arabia was slowly building a coalition with its allies to “stand up to Iran”.

Saudi Arabia — a Sunni Muslim-majority country — and Shia Muslim-led Iran are at loggerheads across the Middle East and increasingly accuse each other of fuelling instability across the region.

There was no official Iranian reaction to the latest remarks.

Salman has taken a hard line towards Iran since coming to prominence in the past two years.

Earlier this month, he accused Iran of what he said was “tantamount to an act of war”, blaming it for a missile attack aimed at the Saudi capital by rebels in neighbouring Yemen. Iran denied its involvement.

The crown prince also dismissed claims in the interview that the anti-corruption drive in his country that led to the arrest of several prominent royals was a “power grab”, saying such comments were “ludicrous”, the New York Times reported on Thursday.

He said that many of those being held in the Riyadh Ritz-Carlton had pledged allegiance to him and the proposed reforms.

Adding that he also had the support of most key royals, he said: “Our country has suffered a lot from corruption from the 1980s until today.”

He said that when his father, King Salman came to power, they decided it was time to put an end to the problems tarnishing the country’s reputation.

The crown prince said each of the billionaires and princes accused of corruption was arrested, presented with the evidence and given the choice to come clean.

He said about 95 per cent agreed to settle, signing over cash or shares in their businesses to the Saudi State Treasury.

Mohammed bin Salman also praised US President Donald Trump and described him as the “the right person at the right time”.

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