The United States says the threats are concerning and that it will defend Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern allies.
The United States has responded to reports of Iranian threats against Saudi Arabia with concerns and will not hesitate to respond if necessary.
“We are concerned about the threat image and remain in constant contact with the Saudis through military and intelligence channels,” the National Security Council said in a statement on Tuesday. “We will not hesitate to act in defense of our interests and our partners in the region.”
The Wall Street Journal first reported that Saudi Arabia shared the intelligence with the United States earlier on Tuesday.
Neither Saudi Arabia nor Iran has publicly commented on the case.
Iran has alleged, without providing evidence, that Saudi Arabia and other rivals were behind the anti-government protests that have been going on in the country since mid-September.
In October, the commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps warned Saudi Arabia to tone down coverage of protests in Iran by Farsi-language satellite news channels, including Iran International, a Saudi-backed satellite television based in London.
“This is our last warning, because you are interfering in our internal affairs through these media,” Major General Hossein Salami said. “You are involved in this case and know that you are vulnerable.”
Heightened concerns over a potential attack on Riyadh come as the Biden administration criticizes Tehran for its crackdown on protests and condemns it for sending hundreds of drones – along with technical support – to Russia for use in its war in Ukraine.
One of the officials who confirmed the intelligence sharing to the Wall Street Journal described it as a credible threat of attack “soon or within 48 hours.” No U.S. embassy or consulate in the region has issued any alerts or advice to Americans in Saudi Arabia or elsewhere in the Middle East based on the intelligence. Officials were not authorized to comment publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Asked about intelligence reports shared by the Saudis, Pentagon press secretary Brigadier General Pat Ryder said US military officials “are concerned about the threat situation in the region.”
“We are in regular contact with our Saudi partners, in terms of any information they may have to provide on this front,” Ryder said. “But what we’ve said before, and I’ll say it again, is that we reserve the right to protect and defend ourselves no matter where our forces are serving, whether in Iraq or elsewhere.”
US State Department spokesman Ned Price said America was “concerned about the threat image”, without giving further details.
The latest concerns come at a time of strained relations between Riyadh and Washington after the Saudi-led OPEC+ alliance decided last month to cut oil production targets, sparking fears of a price spike gasoline in the United States.
The United States and Saudi Arabia accused Iran in 2019 of being behind a major attack in eastern Saudi Arabia that halved the oil-rich kingdom’s production and caused a spike in energy prices. The Iranians denied being behind the attack.
The Saudis have also been hit repeatedly in recent years by drones, missiles and mortars launched by Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen. Saudi Arabia formed a coalition to fight the Houthis in 2015 and has come under international criticism for its airstrikes during the war, which killed thousands of civilians.
In recent weeks, the Biden administration has imposed sanctions on Iranian officials for the brutal crackdown on protesters following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in September after her arrest by Iranian vice police. The administration also hit Iran with sanctions for supplying drones to Russia for use in its war in Ukraine.
At least 288 people have been killed and 14,160 arrested during the protests, according to the group Human Rights Activists in Iran. Protests continued, even as feared paramilitary Revolutionary Guards warned Iranians to stop.