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Saudis Issue a Warning

A top minister addresses Iran
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 19, 2019 4:14 PM CDT
Saudis Issue a Warning
In this Friday, May 17, 2019, photo released by the US Navy, the USS Abraham Lincoln sails in the Arabian Sea near the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge.   (Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Brian M. Wilbur, U.S. Navy via AP)

(Newser) – Saudi Arabia does not want war but will not hesitate to defend itself against Iran, a top Saudi diplomat said Sunday, after the kingdom's energy sector was targeted this past week amid heightened tensions in the Persian Gulf, the AP reports. On Sunday night, a rocket was fired into the Iraqi capital's heavily fortified Green Zone, landing less than a mile from the US Embassy, further stoking tensions. No casualties were reported in the apparent attack. Adel al-Jubeir, the minister of state for foreign affairs, spoke a week after four oil tankers—two of them Saudi—were targeted in an alleged act of sabotage off the coast of the United Arab Emirates and days after Iran-allied Yemeni rebels claimed a drone attack on a Saudi oil pipeline.

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"The kingdom of Saudi Arabia does not want war in the region and does not strive for that ... but at the same time, if the other side chooses war, the kingdom will fight this with all force and determination and it will defend itself, its citizens and its interests," al-Jubeir told reporters. A senior Iranian military commander was similarly quoted as saying his country is not looking for war. Fears of armed conflict were already running high after the White House ordered warships and bombers to the region earlier this month to counter an alleged, unexplained threat from Iran. The US also has ordered nonessential staff out of its diplomatic posts in Iraq. But President Donald Trump appears to have softened his tone in recent days, saying he expects Iran to seek negotiations with his administration.

(Read more Saudi Arabia stories.)

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