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IRAN’S AGGRESSION MUST BE CONFRONTED NOT APPEASED

In a two-page opinion piece published in the Monday July 23 issue of Arab News, Prince Khalid bin Salman, the Saudi Ambassador to the United States, warned the world that Iranian aggression must be confronted. Appeasement was unsuccessful in halting Nazi Germany’s rise to power, he wrote, and it would be equally unsuccessful in deterring the theocratic regime in Tehran. “At a time of thunderous echoes of the 1930s, the sustained fallout from an economic crisis, extreme polarization of the political spectrum from the far right to the hard left, inaction from the global community and malignant actors determined to fill a void in leadership by spreading their ideology of hate and violence, it is incumbent on the global community to act with resolve” he wrote quoting the philosopher, George Santayana, who famously declared: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”.

Prince Khalid argued that the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, far from curbing Tehran’s regional meddling and support for global terrorism, had in fact provided it with more than $100 billion in resources to finance these activities. He drew a comparison between Saudi Arabia, with its ambitious development plans in investing for a strong and stable future, and Iran’s lavish spending on military adventurism in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and elsewhere. “Those who adhere to terrorism and violent extremism are but a small minority in both Saudi Arabia and Iran,” he wrote. “The difference is that in Saudi Arabia these terrorists are on the run, while in Iran they are running the country”.

Prince Khalid welcomed the determination of US President Donald Trump to take a more realistic approach to Iran, noting that President Trump had declared that his administration would work with its allies to find a real, comprehensive, and lasting solution to the Iranian nuclear threat. This would include efforts to eliminate the threat of Iran’s ballistic missile program, to stop its terrorist activities worldwide, and to block its menacing activity across the Middle East. Saudi Arabia, he wrote, was committed to doing everything it could to help the United States. “There is still time for a determined international response that stops Iran from spreading its tentacles of mischief to every corner of the region – from the Hezbollah terrorist organization that has put a stranglehold on Lebanon’s future, to the Houthi militia that has wrought misery on Yemen and tried, unsuccessfully, to intimidate my country by firing Iranian-provided missiles into Saudi Arabian territory” he wrote.“The world must join us to confront Iran with seriousness and intent. Iran needs to know it will pay a price if it continues to violate international law and interfere in the affairs of its neighbours”.

Prince Khalid bin Salman was appointed ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the United States of America on April 22, 2017, by King Salman. He presented his credentials to US President Donald J. Trump and officially assumed his position on July 21, 2017. Before that, Prince Khalid was an adviser at the Saudi Embassy in Washington and at the Ministry of Defence in Riyadh. Previously, he was an F-15 pilot and tactical intelligence officer in the Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF).Before a back injury ended his flying career, Prince Khalid flew more than 50 combat missions as part of the international coalition campaign against Daesh in Syria and as part of Operations Decisive Storm and Renewal of Hope in Yemen. Prince Khalid graduated from the King Faisal Air Academy in Riyadh and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the RSAF. He received his initial pilot training at Randolph Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, and advanced training at Columbus Air Force Base in Columbus, Mississippi. He also studied advanced electronic warfare in France.