Saudi Spy Chief Lobbies London for Strikes against Iran: Source
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – A Saudi intelligence chief pleaded with British authorities to carry out limited strikes against Iranian military targets, just hours after Donald Trump called off planned US attacks against the Islamic Republic, a senior UK official said.
The intelligence chief was accompanied by Saudi diplomat Adel al-Jubeir on his trip to London, the source told Middle East Eye.
Still, the Saudi lobbying efforts fell on deaf ears, according to the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject.
"Our people were skeptical," the source said, adding that the Saudi official was told a plain "no" in response to the request.
The Saudi official also provided additional intelligence linking Iran to a recent attack on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman, but his British counterparts were "not impressed" with the new evidence.
According to the British source, the Saudi intelligence chief will head to Jerusalem (al-Quds) on the weekend, where he will engage in similar lobbying efforts with Israeli officials and US National Security Adviser John Bolton, an anti-Iran hawk, who will be visiting Israel.
On Thursday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reiterated his country's support for Washington against Iran.
"I repeat my call for all peace-loving countries to stand by the United States in its effort to stop Iranian aggression," he said in a video message posted on Twitter.
The news comes as Trump halted US strikes against Iranian targets 10 minutes before their launch late on Thursday. The military operation was planned in response to the downing of a US drone a day earlier.
Iran has blamed Washington for the incident, saying that the drone was over its territorial waters. Washington maintains that the unmanned plane was over international waters.
The IRGC said on Thursday that a US spy drone that violated the Iranian territorial airspace in the early hours of the day was shot down by the IRGC Aerospace Force’s air defense unit near the Kooh-e-Mobarak region in the southern province of Hormozgan.
The intruding drone was shot by Iran’s homegrown air defense missile system “Khordad-3rd”.
Commenting on the operation, Major General Hossein Salami, the IRGC’s chief commander, said, “At dawn today, the IRGC’s Air Force bravely downed a US spy drone, which had intruded our border, violating our national security. This is how the Iranian nation deals with its enemies.”
The IRGC’s chief said Iranian frontiers are “our red line,” and that the downing of the American drone sent a “transparent and firm message” that the defenders of Iranian borders would react to any act of aggression by any outsider with a “decisive and final” strike.
He reaffirmed that Iran is not seeking war with anyone, but stands fully ready to firmly respond to any aggression.