Why Iran wants to destroy Saudi Arabia’s petrochemicals empire
The world’s most powerful state, Saudi Arabia, has been waging a multi-year war against Iran since the Islamic Revolution of 1979.
The Saudi-led coalition of Arab and Persian Gulf states has been bombing Iranian targets in Syria and Iraq since mid-2015.
The latest war, which is being waged with little public notice, has claimed more than 5,000 lives.
The U.S., Iran and Russia, the United Nations, and the European Union have all condemned the war.
Yet the Saudis are using petro chemicals in their military.
In an op-ed in the New York Times, Dr. Mehdi Jazayeri, a former Saudi defense minister and a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, called for Saudi Arabia to abandon petro chemistry as a means of warfare and instead focus on the development of weapons of mass destruction.
Saudi Arabia is one of the few nations that can manufacture chemical weapons, he wrote.
“Iran has no such weapons,” Jazayersi said.
“The Saudis are working on weapons of destruction that are of equal or greater importance.”
Iran has not publicly commented on the war, but recently called the war a war of aggression and demanded the United States “stop supporting it.”
Iran’s foreign ministry denied the accusations.
“These accusations are baseless and absurd, and are not based on any facts,” the ministry said in a statement.
Saudi-Iranian tensions have escalated since the war began, with Iran accused of trying to disrupt Saudi-sponsored peace talks in Switzerland.
Iran also accused the United Arab Emirates of sending its troops into Syria and of using its air force to bomb Saudi targets.
The two countries have fought three wars since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
A report published by the Institute for Science and International Security in December said that Saudi Arabia had invested nearly $200 billion in petro-chemical production since the revolution.
The report also noted that the Saudis were using a network of 20 chemical plants to produce chemical weapons.
The attacks have made headlines around the world.
Iran and the United Kingdom have accused each other of being behind the attacks.
Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir called the allegations “absurd,” saying they were based on “rumors and lies” and that the United Saudi Arabia “is committed to the elimination of terrorism and extremism.”
The Saudi government has been quick to dismiss the allegations, saying it has nothing to do with Iran and that it is “defending the interests of its citizens and sovereign nations.”
Saudi Arabia has been leading a coalition of nations in Syria, including Iran, against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which is supported by Russia and the U.K. The United States, Saudi Arabians, Jordan, Qatar, and Turkey are also part of the coalition.
According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Iran and Syria are responsible for a significant portion of the global stockpile of chemical weapons; the United Nation says the two countries possess around 1,000 metric tons.
The International Atomic Council, which oversees the chemical weapons treaty, has also criticized the Saudis for their “failure to control their chemical weapons.”
The council has warned that a chemical weapons strike could lead to a catastrophic response.