The United States and Saudi Arabia are reportedly on high alert after the Middle Eastern kingdom shared intelligence with Washington about a potential attack on targets within the country.

In response to the threat, the United States, Saudi Arabia, and other neighboring nations have raised the alert level of their military forces, officials from Riyadh and Washington told The Wall Street Journal. Tehran is said to be planning the attacks on Saudi Arabia and Iraq in a bid to distract attention from ongoing protests in Iran that have attracted widespread global attention.

When Pentagon press secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder was asked by a reporter on Tuesday about the situation, he refused to talk about “specific force protection levels” but insisted that the military will defend itself against any aggression.

“I can say that we do remain concerned about the threat situation in the region. We’re in regular contact with our Saudi partners in terms of what information they may have to provide on that front,” Ryder said.

“But what we’ve said before, and I’ll repeat it, is that we will reserve the right to protect and defend ourselves no matter where our forces are serving, whether in Iraq or elsewhere.”

There have been widespread public protests in Iran after a young woman died on Sept. 16 while in police custody. The victim was arrested after not following the country’s strict dress code for women.

Since then, more than 1,000 people have been arrested and over 200 killed as protesters called for protecting women’s rights and demanded that the Islamic government be brought down.

Iran Protests

Authorities in Tehran have accused the United States and Saudi Arabia of instigating the protests. Last month, the commander-in-chief of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Hossein Salami, blamed Saudi Arabia for trying to “trick” Iranian youth through media outlets.

“I am warning the Saudi regime: Be careful of your behavior and control these outlets or the smoke will blow in your face,” he said, according to Al-Monitor. “We give you the final word because you are interfering in our internal affairs with these media. We told you, be careful.”

Meanwhile, Iranian foreign ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanani has criticized U.S. President Joe Biden for supporting the protests in the country.

The protests in Iran have triggered solidarity rallies in the United States and Europe. In an interview last month, U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan revealed that Washington has adopted a “range of aggressive actions” in support of the protesters.

The European Union imposed sanctions on Iranian agencies and officials deemed to have violated human rights. In response, Iran also imposed a slew of sanctions on EU officials, NGOs, and media agencies, which were dismissed by the European Union as “politically motivated.”


Naveen Athrappully is a news reporter covering business and world events at The Epoch Times.

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