Saudi Ara­bia and US push for ex­ten­sion of Iran arms em­bargo

King­dom on Sunday seized weapons ship­ment sent by Tehran to Houthi mili­tias in Ye­men

Arab News - - Front Page - Ruba Obaid Jeddah Brian Hook US en­voy

Saudi Min­is­ter of State for For­eign Af­fairs Adel Al-Jubeir and US Spe­cial Rep­re­sen­ta­tive for Iran Brian Hook on Mon­day called on the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity to ex­tend a UN em­bargo on sales of weapons to Iran to pre­vent any ex­pan­sion of the na­tion’s state-spon­sored ter­ror­ism.

Speak­ing dur­ing a joint press con­fer­ence in Riyadh, Al-Jubeir said Saudi and US poli­cies on Iran are iden­ti­cal.

“We both see Iran as a grave dan­ger not only to re­gional sta­bil­ity, but in­ter­na­tional sta­bil­ity,” he said. “We be­lieve that Iran is the chief spon­sor of ter­ror­ism and that the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity has to be more firm in deal­ing with the Ira­ni­ans and their prox­ies.” To il­lus­trate the threat, the Arab Coali­tion dis­played weapons, in­clud­ing drones and mis­siles, be­lieved to have been supplied by Iran to Houthi mili­tias in Ye­men, which were used in cross-bor­der at­tacks on Saudi cities.

Iran-backed Houthis have car­ried out 1,659 at­tacks on Saudi Ara­bia in the past five years, us­ing a va­ri­ety of weapons, in­clud­ing 318 bal­lis­tic mis­siles, 371 drones, 64 ex­plo­sive boats and 153 naval mines. The at­tacks are de­signed to threaten and tar­get civil­ians, harm the global econ­omy and dis­rupt ship­ping in vi­o­la­tion of in­ter­na­tional and hu­man­i­tar­ian laws, the coali­tion said. Al-Jubeir said a ship­ment of weapons from Iran bound for Houthi mili­tias was seized off the Ye­meni coast on Sunday. It is un­likely to be the last ship­ment, he added, and so the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity must ex­tend the em­bargo to limit Iran’s abil­ity to sup­ply weapons.

The UN em­bargo, which im­posed 13 years ago, is due to ex­pire in Oc­to­ber. Adopted un­der UN Res­o­lu­tion 1747, which tight­ened sanc­tions in re­sponse to Tehran’s re­fusal to halt its nu­clear pro­gram, it pro­hibits Iran from mov­ing con­ven­tional weapons be­yond its bor­ders. Al-Jubeir said that Tehran continues to sup­ply ter­ror­ist groups with weapons de­spite the em­bargo, and if it is lifted Iran will be­come even more ag­gres­sive and dis­rup­tive.

US en­voy Hook agreed, say­ing: “The weapons that we see here to­day ... are all the ev­i­dence we need that the arms em­bargo on Iran must not be lifted. We need to en­sure that Iran has a harder time spread­ing deadly weapons.

“This is a frac­tion of the kind of deadly arms that have made their way not only here to Saudi Ara­bia, but around the Mid­dle East, so this is the right time for the Se­cu­rity Coun­cil to do the right and nec­es­sary thing.”

Both of­fi­cials agreed that the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity must put strong pres­sure on Tehran to abide by in­ter­na­tional laws, cease its sup­port of ter­ror­ism, stop deal­ing with crim­i­nal or­ga­ni­za­tions and drug car­tels, and halt the killing of in­no­cent peo­ple.

They added that Washington and Riyadh are work­ing closely to mo­bi­lize in­ter­na­tional al­lies in an at­tempt to end this threat posed by Iran to the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity. Al-Jubeir said that this threat ex­tends be­yond the Gulf re­gion to Europe, South Amer­ica and Asia. “We both wish for noth­ing more than Iran to be a nor­mal coun­try that lives in the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity the way other coun­tries do, re­spect­ing in­ter­na­tional law and the sovereignt­y of other states, not in­ter­fer­ing in their in­ter­nal af­fairs, and that it (ends) its bal­lis­tic mis­sile and ter­ror­ism pro­grams,” he added. The min­is­ter said that the Ira­nian

regime grows more ide­o­log­i­cal and ag­gres­sive with ev­ery pass­ing year, in­creas­ing its in­ter­fer­ence in the af­fairs of other coun­tries at the cost of in­no­cent lives.

Hook said that the five per­ma­nent mem­bers of the UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil — the US, the UK, China, France and Rus­sia — have a shared in­ter­est in en­sur­ing the Mid­dle East is more peace­ful and sta­ble, and that Iran never ac­quires the abil­ity to build a nu­clear weapon. He is hope­ful and op­ti­mistic, there­fore, that they will make the right de­ci­sion re­gard­ing the arms em­bargo on na­tional se­cu­rity grounds.

The weapons that we see here to­day … are all the ev­i­dence we need, that the arms em­bargo on Iran must not be lifted.

Reuters

Min­is­ter of State for For­eign Af­fairs Adel Al-Jubeir and US en­voy Brian Hook check the dis­play of the de­bris of bal­lis­tic mis­siles and weapons in Riyadh.

Re­lated re­port

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