Tehran, Iran. While not being covered much in the western media, tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia are rapidly escalating under the media radar.
Iranian Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan warned Saudi Arabia that Tehran will leave only the Islamic sacred places Mecca and Medina untouched if Riyadh acts thoughtlessly. The news agency Tasnim reported, citing the Lebanese TV channel “Al Manar.” The implication being, an all out nuclear exchange between the two Middle Eastern powers.
“We advise Saudi Arabia not to do anything foolish. However, if they do something thoughtless, we will not leave even one place in Saudi Arabia intact except Mecca and Medina,” Dehghan said, cited by the Iranian news outlet Tasnim.
The Iranian Defense Minister stated this after the Saudi deputy crown prince Mohammad bin Salman, Defense Minister of Saudi Arabia, who said that Iran’s desire to “dominate the Islamic world” is an obstacle to dialogue with Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia seems to feel Iran has goals of regime change in Riyadh, in Mohammad bin Salman’s opinion, Iran is trying to reach the Muslim holy place in Saudi Arabia, the Kaaba in Mecca. “We will not wait for military action upon Saudi Arabian territory before starting to confront Iran,” he added.
The disagreements between Iran and Saudi Arabia escalated sharply with the start of the Arab Spring in the Middle East in 2011, when Tehran supported Shiite forces, and Saudi Arabia supported the Sunnis who opposed them.
From the begining of 2016, Saudi Arabia has broken off diplomatic relations with Iran after its diplomatic missions in Iranian cities were attacked, following the execution in Saudi Arabia of Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr.