Saudi special forces take part in military exercises near Riyadh
Saudi special forces take part in military exercises near Riyadh. Saudi Arabia's former intelligence chief has told a Gulf security conference that Riyadh will use "all available options" to defend itself against Iranian "threats" that might trigger "unwanted military confrontation". © Fayez Nureldine - AFP/File
Saudi special forces take part in military exercises near Riyadh
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AFP
Last updated: January 18, 2012

Saudi ex-spy chief says all options open on Iran

Saudi Arabia will use "all available options" to defend itself against Iranian "threats" that might trigger "unwanted military confrontation," its former intelligence chief told a Gulf security conference.

Prince Turki al-Faisal's comments to the conference in Bahrain late on Tuesday came after Tehran demanded Riyadh rethink its offer to make up for any oil lost to world markets as a result of threatened curbs on Iranian exports.

"Any threat to our interests or security will force us to use all available options to defend our interests, and national and regional security," Faisal said in remarks carried by the Al-Arabiya news channel.

"The mounting escalation and persistent tensions might end up in an adventure with unpredictable consequences or in an unwanted military confrontation."

Iran has warned Western governments that it will close the Strait of Hormuz at the mouth of the Gulf, a strategic choke point for much of the Middle East's oil, if they press ahead with sanctions against its key crude exports.

"Iran must not fuel this conflict and must not threaten us when we commit to international decisions," Faisal said.

"It must neutralise the security of the Strait of Hormuz and that of the world energy supply," said Faisal, who is also a former Saudi ambassador in both London and Washington.

But Iran, "our partner in achieving the objective of security across the region, based on peaceful foundations, has chosen a different policy that constantly undermines regional security and provokes foreign interventions, which it claims it is trying to get rid of."

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