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24 Nov, 2017 13:34

Saudi Crown Prince says Iran’s Ayatollah is the ‘new Hitler’

 Saudi Crown Prince says Iran’s Ayatollah is the ‘new Hitler’

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman has claimed that Iranian Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is the “new Hitler of the Middle East” in his latest profile by the New York Times.

Bin Salman said Iran’s Supreme Leader Khamenei is akin to Adolf Hitler, Germany’s dictator during the Second World War, who sought to wipe out the Jewish people while creating an ethnically pure Aryan empire.  

READ MORE: Iran compliant with nuclear deal, we should 'stay with' it – US Defense Secretary 

“But we learned from Europe that appeasement doesn’t work,” bin Salman told the Times. “We don’t want the new Hitler in Iran to repeat what happened in Europe in the Middle East.”

Bin Salman didn’t specify which policies of Nazi Germany he fears Iran is set to repeat: committing genocide, creating death camps or sparking another world war. Saudi Arabia has recently ramped up tensions with rival Iran, claiming it is the “number one state sponsor of terrorism,” in alignment with President Donald Trump’s administration, which has also accused Iran of the same. Both countries cite Iran’s support for Hamas in Palestine and its backing of Houthi rebels in Yemen as evidence of its support of terrorism.

Bin Salman, who is also the Kingdom’s defense minister, is waging a war in Yemen against the Houthis, which are supported by Iran and captured the capital in 2014.

The conflict is framed as a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran. Bin Salman told the Times that 85 percent of Yemen’s territory is now controlled by forces loyal to ousted leader President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi. Hadi who was removed from power by Houthis has since fled Yemen, and has been in Saudi Arabia for much of the conflict.

The irony of bin Salman’s Hitler comment was not lost among social-media users. The Times feature cites “Iranian over-reach” as one reason for bin Salman’s Hitler comparison, which comes in the wake of the Prince’s perceived role in the short-lived resignation of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri.

Earlier this month, Hariri announced his resignation in a televised statement from Saudi Arabia, citing Iran’s influence over Hezbollah in Lebanon. Hezbollah’s political arm is part of the Lebanese coalition government.

READ MORE: Lebanon PM Hariri says resignation on hold pending talks

The move sparked suspicions that Hariri made the announcement under duress from his Saudi backers. The suspicions were further fuelled when Hariri suspended that resignation as soon as he returned to Lebanon on Tuesday.

In November, Saudi Foreign Minister Abel Al-Jubeir said Iran was the number one state sponsor of terrorism because it "harbors terrorists and was in cahoots with al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden since the 1990s." However, Saudi Arabia is known to have funded ISIS and Al-Qaeda, and 15 of the 19 hijackers on 9/11 were Saudi citizens.