DUBAI May 2 Saudi Arabia's powerful deputy
crown prince has ruled out any dialogue with Iran, a country he
said was busy plotting to control the Muslim world.
Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the Saudi defence minister, said
in a TV interview to be broadcast later on Tuesday his country
could crush Iran-aligned fighters in Yemen where Saudi forces
head a coalition of Gulf Arab states intervening in a civil war.
Sunni Muslim Saudi Arabia and Shi'ite Iran compete for
influence in the Middle East, supporting rival groups in Syria's
civil war. In Yemen, Iran denies providing financial or military
support to the Houthis who are fighting government forces allied
with Saudi Arabia.
Asked if Saudi Arabia was ready to open a direct dialogue
with Tehran, Mohammed said it was impossible to talk with a
power that was planning for the return of the Imam Mahdi - whom
Shi'ites believe was a descendent of the Prophet who went into
hiding 1,000 years ago and will return to establish global
Islamic rule before the end of the world.
"How do you have a dialogue with this (Iran)?" Mohammed said
in clips of the interview posted on social media.
"Its (Iran's) logic is that the Imam Mahdi will come and
they must prepare the fertile environment for the arrival of the
awaited Mahdi and they must control the Muslim world."
Under Iran's constitution since the 1979 revolution, the
country's supreme leader is the earthly representative of the
Imam until his return.
Asked to respond to reports that after two years of war and
Saudi's military intervention the Houthis, aligned to ex-Yemeni
president Ali Abdullah Saleh, still control large swathes of
Yemen and large quantities of weapons, Prince Mohammed said:
"We can uproot the Houthis and Saleh in a matter of days."
In the clips available in advance of the broadcast he did
not elaborate on the Saudi strategy for Yemen.
(Reporting by Sami Aboudi; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)