SAUDI ARABIA

If Iran not countered in Yemen, conflict risk will rise: Hook

June 21, 2019
Brian Hook (C), the US special representative on Iran, listens to a Saudi official as they check what Saudi officials said was an Iranian-made launcher used by the Houthi rebels in Yemen, during a visit to an army base in Al-Kharj, south of the Saudi capital Riyadh, on Friday. — AFP
Brian Hook (C), the US special representative on Iran, listens to a Saudi official as they check what Saudi officials said was an Iranian-made launcher used by the Houthi rebels in Yemen, during a visit to an army base in Al-Kharj, south of the Saudi capital Riyadh, on Friday. — AFP

RIYADH — US Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook said on Friday that if Iran was not countered in Yemen, the risk of a regional conflict in the Middle East will increase.

“Iran’s efforts to use surrogates to attack Saudi Arabia and destabilize the region needs to be countered,” he said. It is important that Iran “does not gain a foothold in Yemen” to threaten the strait of Bab al-Mandeb, he added.

The envoy also said it was important to de-escalate tensions with Iran. “Our diplomacy does not give Iran the right to respond with military force, Iran needs to meet our diplomacy with diplomacy and not military force,” he told a news conference in Riyadh. “It's important we do everything we can to de-escalate.”

US sanctions on Iran have denied it “tens of billions of dollars in revenues for the IRGC to launch attacks directly or indirectly,” according to Hook, who also called Saudi Arabia “very helpful” in ensuring a stable oil market amid fears of energy disruption because of growing military tension in the Middle East.

Hook met Saudi Deputy Defense Minister Prince Khalid Bin Salman later in Jeddah on Friday, the minister tweeted. They discussed recent attacks in the region which the United States and Saudi Arabia blame on Iran and Iran denies being behind. Prince Khalid affirmed Saudi support for the US campaign to pressure Tehran. — Agencies


June 21, 2019
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