World War 3 could happen as US-Iran conflict escalates, Malaysia PM says

Former Malaysia PM Mahathir questioned by police for the second time in June
Malaysia's former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad during an interview at his office in Putrajaya Reuters

Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad, the oldest world leader at 93 years of age, warned further provocations of Iran by president Donald Trump might trigger World War III.

The outspoken leader of Malaysia, a Sunni Muslim state, said Trump's continuing pressure on Iran to reach a nuclear deal on his terms and the growing risks of miscalculation might ignite a "world war."

"I think as far as I can see, it is America, which is making all the provocation," said Mahathir to CNBC news anchor Tanvir Gill on June 22.

"First, they (the U.S.) withdrew from the (nuclear) treaty, and now they're sending warships to the Gulf, and doing things that will provoke Iran," he said.

Mahathir and other leaders of ASEAN, or the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, were in Thailand over the weekend for the 34th ASEAN Summit.

Mahathir described Trump as "totally unpredictable." He also said "this one man, with one more term to go, can do a lot of damage to the whole world."

Mahathir also warned of Trump igniting a world war.

"If they go to war, it will not be Iran against America," claims Mahathir. "It will be a world war."

Mahathir said Trump's sanctions against Iran are the equivalent of bullying.

"This kind of play of applying sanctions and forcing other countries to comply with the big power's decision is totally undemocratic ... This is bullying," according to Mahathir.

Mahathir warned energy prices will likely increase because "we are knocking out Iran as one of the big suppliers." The sanctions also affect Malaysia, as they will not be able to work with their "good trading partner," Iran.

Tensions between the U.S. and Iran almost exploded into war when Iran shot down a U.S. Navy aerial spy drone over the Strait of Hormuz on June 20. The U.S. launched an aerial counterstrike the next day, which was called off at the last moment for still unclear reasons.

This article was first published in IBTimes US. Permission required for reproduction.