Deputy Defense Minister Khalid bin Salman to Visit Washington, London to ‘Urge Restraint’ as U.S.-Iran Tensions Soar

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has instructed his younger brother and deputy defense minister Prince Khalid bin Salman to travel to Washington and London to “urge restraint” after the killing of a top Iranian commander has sent regional tensions soaring.

Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states see themselves as potential targets for retaliation after the U.S. assassinated Iran’s top general. According to Bloomberg, the Kingdom is “working on multiple tracks to try to keep tensions between Tehran and Washington from building into a military confrontation.”

Prince Khalid bin Salman with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in October 2019.

Prince Khalid bin Salman with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in October 2019.

Saudi Arabia was “not consulted by Washington” over the controversial and potentially destabilizing US drone strike that killed Qasem Soleimani, an official told the AFP on Sunday.

“In light of the rapid developments, the kingdom stresses the importance of exercising restraint to guard against all acts that may lead to escalation, with severe consequences,” the official, who was not named by the AFP, added.

Prince Khalid previously served as Saudi Ambassador to Washington, D.C. He was replaced by Princess Reema bint Bandar Al-Saud.

In separate comments at a press conference on Monday, Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan stressed a similar message of de-escalation, Bloomberg reports.

“We are very keen that the situation in the region doesn’t escalate any further…It’s certainly a very dangerous moment and we have to be conscious of the risks and dangers not just to the region but to wider global security.”