MANAMA: Deterrence is the only way to stop Iran from destabilizing the Middle East and attacking Saudi Arabia, the Kingdom’s minister of state for foreign affairs said Saturday.
An investigation into a drone and missile attack against Saudi oil facilities in September is still ongoing, Adel Al-Jubeir told a regional security conference in Bahrain.
But he added that both the direction of the attack on the Abqaiq oil processing facility and Khurais oil field, and the types of weapons used meant Saudi Arabia held Iran responsible.
Al-Jubeir defended Riyadh’s measured response to the September strikes, saying the Kingdom was being “strategically very patient” in its investigation so there is “not a shadow of doubt” on where the drones and missiles came from.
“We have said all along we don't want war, so to jump into war very quickly is not a rational position,” he added.
The strikes on the oil facilities followed a series of incidents earlier this year blamed on Iran, including attacks on shipping in and near the Strait of Hormuz.
Faced with increasing US sanctions straining the Iranian economy, Tehran is accused of lashing out against its enemies in the region to prove it can disrupt global energy supplies.
The regime has also started breaking its commitments to an international deal to curb its nuclear program in response to an easing of sanctions.
Donald Trump withdrew the US from the deal last year and immediately ramped up economic pressure on Iran. European states are scrambling to keep the deal intact.
But Al-Jubeir told the annual Manama Dialogue that deterrence, not appeasement was the only way to deal with Iran.
“The idea that perhaps engagement would cause the Iranians to change their behavior has not worked in 40 years, why would it work in the next four years,” he said. “The key to regional stability is deterrence. The key to regional stability is a steadfast position by the international community to make sure everyone has to abide by the rules of international law.
“That’s how we can bring about a change in Iran’s behavior. If Iran wants to continue with its destructive past then sanctions should be increased, not reduced.”
Earlier, the French Defence Minister Florence Parly accused the US of failing to respond to Iran’s aggression in the region, including the shooting down of an American surveillance drone in June.
Al-Jubeir disagreed, saying the US had been a dependable ally for the past seven decades.