Saudi Arabia Insists on Expanding Sanctions Against Iran in Tune With Washington
A visit to the Middle East is the first foreign tour of Mike Pompeo after being appointed the top US diplomat.
Saudi Arabia backs the US stance on Iran and insists on expanding sanctions against the country, Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Adel Jubeir said at a joint press conference with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
“It is necessary to introduce new sanctions in response to Iran’s support for terrorism, its missile program and interference in the affairs of Arab countries. We support the policy of the US president [Donald Trump] concerning Iran, especially with regard to amending the nuclear agreement,” Jubeir pointed out.
The US state secretary, in turn, said that Tehran “destabilizes the situation in the region:
“We will not turn a blind eye to its terrorist activities,” he stressed. “If Iran fails to improve the nuclear deal, we will withdraw from it,” Pompeo said, noting that the policy of the Islamic Republic “has deteriorated significantly after the conclusion of the agreement.”
Pompeo also reiterated that Saudi Arabia’s security remains a priority for the United States. His statement comes amid the intensification of missile strikes exchanged between the kingdom and Yemeni Houthi rebels. Relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran, its key rival in the region, have been tense over the past few years, with Riyadh accusing Iran of supplying weapons, including missiles, to the Houthi rebels in Yemen, which Tehran vehemently denies.
In August 2017, Trump enacted new sanctions against Iran targeting individuals who are engaged in the Iranian government’s ballistic missile program, which “threatens Washington and its allies in the Middle East.” The US also imposed restrictions on the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), an elite faction of Iran’s military, which Washington claims is responsible for Tehran’s “policy of supporting terrorists.”
Responding to these accusations, Tehran stated that the US restrictions violated the provisions of the JCPOA, dubbed the Iran nuclear deal, which stipulates the gradual cancellation of sanctions in exchange for Tehran keeping its nuclear program peaceful.