Downgrade is a blow to Saudi Arabia, which is trying to diversify its economy away from oil and woo foreign investors.
Saudi Arabia‘s crown prince warned in an interview aired on Sunday that a military confrontation with Iran would collapse the global economy, adding that he would prefer a political and peaceful solution to a military one.
“The region represents about 30 percent of the world’s energy supplies, about 20 percent of global trade passages, about four percent of the world GDP (gross domestic product),” the crown prince, also known as MBS, said.
“Imagine all of these three things stop. This means a total collapse of the global economy, and not just Saudi Arabia or the Middle East countries.”
He urged the world to take “strong and firm action to deter Iran” and prevent the situation from escalating further.
MBS also said that he agreed with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s conclusion that the September 14 attacks on the kingdom’s oil facilities were an act of war by Iran.
The United States, European powers and Saudi Arabia have also blamed the attacks on Iran.
In the same interview, MBS, however, said that he preferred a peaceful resolution because it “is much better than the military one.”
In a possible sign of diplomacy, Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi announced that he would visit Tehran soon, in an effort to reduce tension in the region, according to Iraqi media.
“Abdul Mahdi, who has arrived from Saudi Arabia wants to invite Saudi Crown Prince bin Salman and the Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to Baghdad for a meeting,” he was quoted as saying.
Earlier, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan said that he was also making an effort to mediate between Tehran and Riyadh. He held talks with Saudi Arabia’s leaders in Riyadh, as well as with Rouhani at the United Nations.
“Absolutely not,” when asked if he ordered the murder. But he said he took full responsibility, “since it was committed by individuals working for the Saudi government.”