United States President Donald Trump said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal published Wednesday that if Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was found to be involved in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, it would be a blow to the relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia and the matter would have a negative impact on the Middle East.
Trump explained, "If you look at what they’re doing, they’ve been a very good ally with respect to Iran and with respect to Israel. And it would be a—it would be an—it would be a very, very big change if we—you know, we have a very, very strong and positive thing going on in the Middle East for the first time in many years."
Khashoggi has been missing since October 2, when he was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. He was a fierce critic of the Crown Prince, who denied in a conversation with US President Donald Trump that he was responsible for Khashoggi’s death.
Saudi Arabia admitted for the first time on Friday that Khashoggi was killed after entering the consulate in Istanbul, after previously denying Turkish claims that he was murdered.
Trump on Tuesday ramped up his rhetoric against Saudi Arabia over the death of Khashoggi, describing the kingdom’s efforts to hide the journalist’s killing as the “worst cover-up ever.”
On Monday, Trump said in an interview with USA Today that he still believed Khashoggi’s murder was “a plot gone awry”.
Iran has closely followed the backlash faced by its regional rival Saudi Arabia over the Khashoggi murder.
The two countries back opposing sides in countries such as Syria, where the Iranian regime supports President Bashar Al-Assadwhile the Saudis back the rebels trying to oust him.
Saudi Arabia has repeatedly called on Iran to stop its “meddling” in the affairs of the kingdom's neighbors.
Iran has fired back, accusing Saudi Arabia of trying to “drag the entire region into confrontation”.