Following are excerpts from an interview with Saudi Ambassador to Egypt, Ahmad Al-Qattan, which was aired on Al-Hayat TV (Egypt), on April 10, 2011:
Ambassador Al-Qattan: Discussing Bahrain leads us to talk about Iran. We in Saudi Arabia, and particularly the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques (i.e. Saudi king), since the time he was Crown Prince, have made great efforts to extend our hand in brotherly love, in every possible way.
Unfortunately, the Iranian schemes in the Gulf never end. To this very day, they live the illusion of a Persian empire. I find their recent statements peculiar. They accused Saudi Arabia of interfering in the affairs of Bahrain. This is not true, and I can prove it. These statements come at a time when Iran is meddling in Lebanon, in Iraq, in Egypt, and in the Gulf states.
The situation with Iran in the region is frightening. We have conveyed a powerful message to them: We will not allow any infringement on the security of the Gulf. The security of any of the Gulf states is a red line for us in Saudi Arabia. Surely you recall how Saudi Arabia responded to the invasion of Kuwait.
What were Iran’s goals in establishing a spy ring in Kuwait? This whole matter is alarming. Iran has been occupying the UAE islands for many years, yet it refuses to hold any discussion about them, or to accept international arbitration.
We in Saudi Arabia have suffered from Iran. Let me remind you that in 1986 or 1987, Iran invaded Saudi airspace twice. We warned them, and when it happened the third time, we downed both their planes.
I do not think that the Iranian policy corresponds to the Egyptian policy. Iran has its schemes. I wish from the bottom of my heart that Egypt will be able to convince Iran to maintain neighborly relations, to honor international conventions, and to refrain from interfering in the affairs of the Arab Gulf states.
Dear brother, you wouldn’t believe what they are doing in the Gulf region. The only thing that country cares about is meddling in every part of the Arab world. Egypt is now suffering from this, like many other Arab countries. In any case, I can say now – and I believe in what I am saying: I hope the Iranians do not test our power.
They must not test our power. Allah willing, we are capable of confronting Iran, if it tries to destabilize the Gulf region.
Interviewer: You mean “power” in the full sense of the word?
Ambassador Al-Qattan: Yes.
Interviewer: Including in the military sense?
Ambassador Al-Qattan: That is what I mean. The Gulf region and its security is where we draw the line. We will not allow any infringement on its security. I hope they do not test our power. I’d like to remind you of other things that you may have missed. We have suffered greatly from the Iranians in consecutive hajj seasons. They come to Saudi Arabia to cause chaos during the hajj season.
Interviewer: Is Iran also responsible for the unrest and demonstrations in Saudi Arabia…?
Ambassador Al-Qattan: What demonstrations? The ones to which 10-15 people showed up?!
Click HERE to watch the interview