The Saudi military and US forces stationed in the nation have raised their alert level after Saudi Arabia provided evidence that could suggest an impending Iranian attack, according to The Wall Street Journal, which cited Saudi and US officials.
According to the WSJ, Saudi Arabia relayed data with the US that Iran planned to attack targets in the Kingdom and Erbil, Iraq, a move authorities said would serve to divert from the growing serious protest movement within Iran. Officials did not disclose the content of the intelligence, but they did state that the United States, Saudi Arabia, and other surrounding countries had raised their alert levels in reaction to the warnings.
According to the WSJ, the White House’s National Security Council confirmed the warnings and stated that it would be ready to retaliate if Iran carried out the alleged attack.
“We are concerned about the threatening picture, and we are in constant communication with the Saudis through intelligence and military channels,” a National Security Council representative told the Wall Street Journal. “We will not hesitate to intervene in defense of our regional interests and alliances.”
During a news briefing on Tuesday, the Pentagon declined to disclose any specifics on if and how Iran would strike targets in the Gulf and Levant areas.
“We continue to be concerned about the threatening situation within the region, and we are in constant contact with our Saudi colleagues,” Pentagon spokesman Brig. General Pat Ryder told the media. “We reserve the right to safeguard and defend ourselves regardless of where our military serves.”
Disputes over oil production quotas and allegations on both sides of manipulating oil production for political advantage have strained US-Saudi ties in recent weeks, according to the Wall Street Journal, but American officials reaffirmed in Oct. that military ties will continue undisturbed. According to Military.com, approximately 3,000 troops remain stationed inside the kingdom.
Since the September assassination of Jina “Mahsa” Amini by the Iranian morality police, uprisings have swept across Iran. According to Axios, protesters have suffered widespread arrests and several have perished as a result of a crackdown by regime forces.
According to Axios, Iranian leaders have blamed the United States and Western partners for encouraging the protests through clandestine means, citing the BBC Persian Service as an example. According to CNN, Iran vowed to sue the United States on October 23 for suspected “direct involvement.”
According to the WSJ, Hossein Salami, the head of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, officially warned Saudi Arabia to restrict media coverage of the protests.
According to the WSJ, Salami stated, “This is our final warning because you are intruding in our domestic matters through these media. You are engaged in this matter and are aware of your vulnerability.”
“Please don’t even come to the streets! Today is the final day of the riots,” Hossein Salami, chief of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, told Reuters on Oct. 29.