Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman accused rival Iran ofattacks on two oil tankers in a vital Gulf shipping channel, adding he"won't hesitate" to tackle any threats to the kingdom, according toexcerpts of an interview published on Sunday.
"The Iranian regime did not respect the presence of theJapanese prime minister as a guest in Tehran and responded to his (diplomatic)efforts by attacking two tankers, one of which was Japanese," PrinceMohammed told pan-Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat, referring to the attacks in theGulf of Oman on Thursday.
"We do not want a war in the region… But we won'thesitate to deal with any threat to our people, our sovereignty, ourterritorial integrity and our vital interests," he added.
The twin attacks sent crude prices soaring amid a tensestandoff between Iran and the US.
The Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous was carrying highlyflammable methanol through the Gulf of Oman when it was rocked by explosions,causing a blaze that was quickly extinguished.
A tanker owned by Oslo-listed company Frontline was alsotargeted. The two vessels were attacked around the time Japanese Prime MinisterShinzo Abe was meeting with Iranian leaders in Tehran.
US President Donald Trump said the attacks had Iran"written all over it".
Tehran has vehemently denied any involvement.
Saudi Arabia, a close US ally, is a bitter regional rival ofIran. Iran has repeatedly warned in the past that it could block the strategicHormuz Strait in a relatively low-tech, high-impact countermeasure to anyattack by the United States.