Responding to Saudi Arabia’s latest threats to take their conflict inside Iran, Tehran said it will leave nothing standing in the kingdom except for Muslim holy cities of Mecca and Medina if the Saudis do anything “ignorant,” Al-Manar reports.
“We warn them against doing anything ignorant, but if they do something ignorant, we will leave nowhere untouched apart from Mecca and Medina,” Iranian Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan told Arabic-speaking Al-Manar channel, as cited by Reuters.
“They think they can do something because they have an air force,” he added in an apparent reference to Riyadh’s bombing of Yemen, where Iran-affiliated Houthi forces are being routinely targeted by the Saudi Air Force.
Dehghan’s comment followed unusually blunt remarks by Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who said on Tuesday that any struggle for influence between Riyadh and Tehran would take place “inside Iran, not in Saudi Arabia.”
Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Baqeri says it is up to the Islamic Republic to decide the targets of its counterstrikes against potential aggressors.
Ten Iranian border guards were killed by militants last month allegedly in an attack from the Pakistan side. The so-called Jaish ul-Adl terrorist group claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement. The border area had long been plagued by unrest from both drug smuggling gangs and separatist militants.
Baqeri said Iran “cannot accept the continuation of this situation,” adding, “We expect the Pakistani officials to control the borders, arrest the terrorists and shut down their bases.”
“If the terrorist attacks continue, we will deal crushing blows to their safe havens and cells, wherever they are,” he said.
Meanwhile in related remarks, Chief of Iran’s Law Enforcement Forces Brigadier General Hossein Ashtari said, “The enemy hirelings, who come from the other side of the border, are reinforced with Saudi money, and martyr our border guards, will get what they deserve.”