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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - Saudi Gazette report
RIYADH — Saudi Arabia and the United States on Monday underlined the need to confront Iran’s criminal acts in order to achieve peace and stability in the region.
In a joint pressing briefing addressed by Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel Al-Jubeir and US special envoy on Iran Brian Hook, both officials called on the international community in general and the United Nations, in particular, to do what it takes to rein in Iranian diabolic designs to disrupt peace in the region. They also called for an extension of an arms embargo on the republic.
“Imagine, what if there was no embargo?” Al-Jubeir quipped, urging the United Nations to keep the existing embargo.
The arms embargo so far has stopped Iran from purchasing fighter jets, tanks, warships and other weaponry, but has failed to halt its smuggling of weapons into war zones.
Condemning Tehran’s nefarious design to destabilize the region, Al-Jubeir said: “There is light and darkness in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia is the light as it seeks to improve the lives of citizens while Iran is the darkness, sowing death and destruction.”
The Saudi minister since the beginning of the war in Yemen, the Houthi militia has carried out 1,659 attacks on civilian areas in Saudi Arabia, firing 318 Iranian-made ballistic missiles, targeting the cities and villages of the Kingdom
In addition, 371 drones have been launched into the Kingdom by the Houthi militia, and 64 explosive boats used to obstruct free navigation in Bab Al-Mandab and the Red Sea, Al-Jubeir said.
The Saudi minister added that since the beginning of the Iranian revolution in 1979, Iran has assassinated more than 360 people worldwide
Iran deals with drug gangs and criminal gangs all over the world, therefore it has rightly been designated a supporter of terrorism, Al-Jubeir added.
He said that Saudi Arabia is working with the United States to prevent Iran from exporting arms and urged the international community to extend the ban on arms sales to Iran.
The Kingdom is keen and committed to the safety and security of its citizens and residents and the protection of its facilities, Al-Jubeir asserted.
Exhorting the world community to act before it’s too late, the Saudi minister said: “The nuclear agreement is weak and yet Iran continues to violate it, and the world must stand firmly against Iran's terrorist policies.”
Meanwhile, addressing reporters, the US special envoy on Iran, said he was in the region “to emphasize our bilateral relations and the diplomatic moves” to restrain the Islamic republic.
He said if the UN arms embargo against Iran is lifted, Tehran will be able to further develop its military capabilities and threaten maritime navigation in the Gulf.
Hook said lifting the embargo would also encourage an “arms race” in the region.
Iran will never be allowed to develop a nuclear weapon, said Hook.
Iran’s leaders are rejecting diplomacy, fueling instability, and worsening the suffering of innocent Yemenis, Hook added.
Just before the press conference. the Arab Coalition revealed details about a new Iranian missile shipment that it seized off the Yemeni coast that was destined for the Iran-backed Houthi militia.
The coalition said a vessel carrying Iranian weapons was intercepted 12 days ago off the coast of Yemen.
Holding Tehran directly responsible for the recent attacks on Saudi Arabia, Al-Jubeir said: “Iran is exporting weapons to terrorist groups despite the embargo.”
The revelation of the new weapons cache comes after the United Nations said earlier this month that it had determined that Iran was the source for several items in two arms shipments seized by the United States and for debris left by attacks on Saudi Arabia's oil installations and an international airport last year.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said some of the items seized by the US in November 2019 and February 2020 "were identical or similar" to those found after the cruise missiles and drone attacks on Saudi Arabia in 2019.
Earlier in the day, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal Bin Farhan held a meeting with the US special envoy on Iran.
During the meeting, they discussed bilateral relations between the two friendly countries and ways of promoting coordination and cooperation in various fields, including joint efforts to confront regional and international challenges. The two sides also discussed developments related to various regional files of common concern, including the Iranian threat to the security of the region, and the joint efforts to achieve security and stability.
The meeting was also attended by Deputy Minister for Political and Economic Affairs Dr. Adel Bin Siraj Mardad, Deputy Minister for Multilateral International Affairs Abdulrahman Bin Ibrahim Al-Rassi, Saudi Ambassador to Yemen Mohammed Saeed Al-Jaber, and the US Ambassador to the Kingdom John Abizaid.
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