Saudi Crown Prince Says Iranian Leader 'Makes Hitler Look Good'

| APR 3, 2018 | 9:29 PM

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The crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, is comparing Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, to Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler.

During a discussion with The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg, Prince Mohammed — who has vowed to promote religious liberty in Saudi Arabia — said Ayatollah Khamenei “makes Hitler look good.”

“I believe the Iranian supreme leader makes Hitler look good,” he said. “Hitler didn't do what the supreme leader is trying to do. Hitler tried to conquer Europe. ... The supreme leader is trying to conquer the world.”

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In 2001, the Iranian ayatollah said it is his country's “mission” to “erase Israel from the map of the region,” and in 2012, he described the Jewish state as “a cancerous tumor” that “will be removed.”

Ayatollah Khamenei also predicted in 2015 that Israel will not exist in 25 years.

The Saudi prince, distancing himself from the Iranian regime, said his country “doesn't have a problem with Jews”:

“You will find a lot of Jews in Saudi Arabia, coming from America, coming from Europe. There are no problems between Christian and Muslims and Jews. We have problems like you would find anywhere in the world, among some people. But the normal sort of problems.”

In March, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby met with Prince Mohammed to discuss religious liberty and the plight of Christians in Saudi Arabia, home to more than 1.4 million Christians.

During the meeting, Prince Mohammed reportedly vowed privately to promote religious liberty in Saudi Arabia.

However, his country holds the No. 12 spot on Open Doors USA's World Watch List, which documents the countries around the globe with the highest level of persecution against Christians.

Iran is No. 10.

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In its 2017 report, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom stated that “religious freedom conditions in Saudi Arabia improved in certain areas.”

“Nevertheless, the government continues to privilege its own interpretation of Sunni Islam over all other interpretations and prohibits any non-Muslim public places of worship in the country,” the report continued.

At another point in the interview, Prince Mohammed told Goldberg he “would like to encourage freedom of speech as much as we can, so long as we don't give opportunity to extremism.”

“We can improve women's rights, improve the economy,” he added. “There is tension here, but we should do it.”

Saudi Arabia announced in September it will begin allowing women to drive in June of this year, The New York Times reported. Saudi leaders are hoping the policy shift will help the economy by increasing female participation in the workforce.