Saudi Arabia 'wants to avoid war with Iran at all costs'

20 June 2019, 18:15 | Updated: 20 June 2019, 22:25

Saudi Arabia's foreign minister has told Sky News his country wants to avoid war with Iran at all costs.

Adel Al-Jubeir denied suggestions by Iran that Saudi Arabia was trying to provoke a war.

He said: "That is ridiculous. We have made it clear and so has the US. The escalation has come from the Iranian side with their aggressive behaviour.

"We are trying to avoid a war at all costs. We are consulting with our friends and allies to see what options and steps can be taken.

"Iran has to understand that its aggressive behaviour cannot be sustained."

He said that tougher sanctions on Iran could be implemented and added: "The burden is on Iran to reduce its aggression and act like a normal country."

The US was considering a response to an Iranian missile strike that brought down a US Navy drone over the Strait of Hormuz which Iran has threatened to close.

Mr Al Jubeir said: "Closing the Strait of Hormuz is going to generate a very, very strong reaction.

"When you interfere with international shipping it has an impact on the supply of energy, it has an impact on the price of oil which has an impact on the world economy."

Donald Trump has warned that Iran has made a "very big mistake" after its military shot down a US surveillance drone.

The downing of the drone came a day after Washington announced it was sending another 1,000 troops to the Middle East in response to what it described as "hostile behaviour" by Iranian forces.

The US has blamed Iran for attacks on tankers and cargo ships in the Gulf of Oman and Strait of Hormuz, a major transit route for global oil supplies.

On Wednesday the US navy released pictures of pieces of mines recovered after the attacks which it said "strikingly" resemble those belonging to Iran.

Officials showed debris and a magnet recovered, they said, from the tanker Kokuka Courageous to reporters at the US navy's 5th Fleet base near Fujairah, in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Iran's Revolutionary Guard left them behind when they removed an unexploded limpet mine after the attack, the officials claimed.

Tehran has denied any involvement.

Tensions between the two countries have increased since Mr Trump last year withdrew America from the 2015 international nuclear deal and reimposed sanctions on Iran.