Saudi activist denies saying Israel should bomb Iran

Published July 20th, 2010 - 12:12 GMT
Mohsen al- Awaji
Mohsen al- Awaji

Saudi Arabia's outspoken reformer Dr. Mohsen al- Awaji is refuting a comment attributed to him by the German publication Der Spiegel in which he apparently invites Israel to bomb Iran. In a July 15 article on the Iranian isolation from Arab nations, the leading German newspaper wrote: "If no one else takes it upon himself to bomb Iran, Saudi cleric Mohsen al-Awaji told SPIEGEL, Israel will have to do it. "Israel's agenda has its limits," he said, noting that it is mainly concerned with securing its national existence. "But Iran's agenda is global."

Al-Awaji admits that he did speak with Der Spiegel, but that their conversations were mostly about the Saudi royal family; Iran was never discussed with any of the authors or editors.

The statement, which was picked up by other media outlets, is "puke dirty and these are just lies behind which is the Israeli Mossad" he told Al-Watan daily. Al-Awaji added that his hostile position against Israel was clear, and that he would support his Iranian brothers, right or wrong.

"I am against Israel at all costs," he said. "If you are inciting anyone, incite Iran to hit Israel and not the contrary."

Al-Awaji is a former lawyer and scholar who has emerged as a popular dissident to the Saudi Arabian regime. He was jailed for five years in the 1990s, following a petition for political reforms during the Gulf War. In 2006, he was briefly imprisoned again for criticizing a minister of labor on his blog, but has since regained favor in Saudi society. 

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