A high-ranking Iranian official issued a stern warning to Saudi Arabia, letting them know that if Iran is provoked by the Sunni Kingdom, they will “obliterate” them.
“Please realize that we are people who control our anger,” Mohsen Rezaee, the secretary of Iran’s Expediency Discernment Council and a former commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), said in a July interview on a state-run TV network that was posted on the Internet. “It takes a lot to make us angry. But the moment we are provoked, we will obliterate Saudi Arabia. We will not allow insecurities to continue.”
Rezaee added, “Therefore, we have told all our friends and supporters, such as Hezbollah to cool down and, for the time being, not to do anything against Saudi Arabia.” He said the Iranian regime has told their “supporters from Saudi Arabia to Yemen and many other places … to keep quiet for now.”
However, Rezaee predicted that a confrontation between both nations will likely occur. “But our prediction is that the path that Saudi Arabia has begun on is a harsh and painful path which may lead to a limited conflict. For example, Saudi will probably attack somewhere that will encourage us to respond.”
Saudi-Iran relations have deteriorated significantly, with each country supporting opposite sides in the conflicts in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen. Both countries have accused each other of destabilizing security in the region.
“If we face Saudi Arabia and even if they beg us to leave them alone, we will not leave them alone.”
Asked by the interviewer if he has ever warned Saudi Arabia, Rezai said, “Yes. My interview is a warning to them.”
The IRGC accused Saudi Arabia of being behind the Islamic State attack on Iran’s Parliament and shrine of the leader of the Iranian revolution, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini on June 7. The Islamic State officially took responsibility for the attack which left 17 dead and dozens wounded.
Syria, in particular, has been a point of contention between both countries. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is backed by the Iranian regime and the nation has no formal diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia.
Last month, during the annual Hajj pilgrimage, Assad’s government slammed Saudi Arabia for “politicizing” the pilgrimage and blocking Syrians from visiting the holy city. Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani responded by saying Saudi Arabia “should stop backing terrorists” in Yemen and Syria.
Last week, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir reportedly said Iran’s talk of a possible rapprochement with the kingdom was “laughable” after Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif said the Islamic Republic would soon exchange diplomatic visits with Saudi Arabia.
“The comments of the foreign minister are laughable,” al-Jubeir said, according to Reuters. “If Iran wants to have good relations with Saudi Arabia, it has to change its policies. It has to respect international law.” He added, “at this time, we do not see… that they’re serious about wanting to be a good neighbor.”