Defense Official Outlines Saudi Security Threats Against Iran

Defense Official Outlines Saudi Security Threats Against IranDefense Official Outlines Saudi Security Threats Against Iran

A defense official said the US, Israel and Saudi Arabia are the main sources of security threats against Iran.

Speaking in a defense conference on Monday, Lieutenant General Gholamreza Jalali, the head of Civil Defense Organization, said anti-Iran threats include those in the military, economic and cyber sectors, ISNA reported.

He said Saudi Arabia tops the list for now, as the new "inexperienced" Saudi leaders have adopted an offensive strategy toward Iran, actively working with the US and Israel to harm Iran's interests.

"Saudi Arabia and threats [it can pose] should be constantly monitored," he said.

Although Tehran-Riyadh relations had not been warm in recent decades, tensions between the two neighbors have been on the rise in recent years and they no longer have diplomatic ties.

A milestone in relations was the death of former Saudi king Abdullah, after whom Salman bin Abdulaziz ascended to the Saudi throne in January 2015 and appointed his son Mohammad bin Salman as the deputy crown prince and defense minister, who practically runs the country.

The new Saudi leadership adopted a more aggressive policy against Iran to isolate what they consider is a major rival emerging from years of international sanctions over its nuclear activities, resorting to claims that Iran is fomenting sectarian violence in the region and has aspirations to dominate it.

Last January, Riyadh used the attacks on its diplomatic premises in Iran by protesters angered over the Saudi execution of top Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr as an excuse to cut ties with Tehran. This is while Iranian authorities condemned the attack and prosecuted perpetrators.

  Saudi Military Buildup

Jalali said military threats posed by Saudi Arabia to Iran are of high importance, as the kingdom has purchased and amassed a huge stock of weapons.

According to estimates, Saudis has supplanted Russia in third place of world's biggest military spenders in 2015. The US is by far the top seller of weapons to them.

"If the US wants to fight in the region, it will use Saudis," Jalali said, alluding to the Saudi military campaign in Yemen, which started in March 2015 and its support for militants in the Syria conflict.

"Persian Gulf will be the scene of our [possible military] clash with Saudis," he said, explaining that "a war in this region would mostly damage Saudi Arabia, then it harms us and after that the world".

The defense official said the second area of threat that Saudis pose to Iran is the economic domain, pointing to Riyadh's role in the plunge in global oil prices.

"They seek to do everything they can to harm Iran's oil interests," he said, adding that Saudis have been recently forced out of desperation to stop part of their efforts to reduce Iran's oil revenues.

Last week, after years, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries decided in Algeria to limit its output to support oil prices, after Saudi Arabia, the world's top oil exporter, agreed to cut its production amid mounting domestic pressure from low oil prices.

Jalali said cyberspace is the third area of threat used by Saudis against Iran.

"Saudi Arabia has developed massive capacities in this sector, which can be used to exert political and cultural impacts and attack infrastructures," he said. "We should consider scenarios for cyber warfare."

Jalali said Iran should not behave in a way that enemies feel they can easily target it.

"We should constantly improve our deterrent power and settle any domestic differences [in this regard]."


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