US Is Committed To Defending Arab States In The Persian Gulf, Pompeo Says
Radio Farda July 10, 2020
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has reiterated that Washington is committed to providing security help for the Persian Gulf Arab countries in the face of the Islamic Republic of Iran's increasing missile capability.
Responding to a question during a briefing for foreign reporters July 9, Pompeo stressed that Washington is working in "more than one way" with its Arab partners to offset a growing missile threat from Tehran.
One of these ways, Pompeo noted, is to prevent the lifting of Iran's arms embargo, which will end on October 18, and if not extended, it will have "serious, tragic consequences" for the Middle East.
Another way is providing the Arab states in the region with arms, Pompeo asserted, adding, "We have been working with our Gulf state partners - not only to get them to assist the U.S. efforts to extend this arms embargo, which is very important for them - but also we provided a great deal of assistance, all kinds of U.S. sales of weapons, those are all public."
There are also other measures taken to offset Iran's military power the Secretary of State noted, that are not public.
A day earlier, Pompeo had announced the seizure of a ship that he said was carrying weapons sent by Iran to the Houthi rebels in Yemen.
The cargo included 200 rocket-propelled grenades, more than 1,700 assault rifles, 21 surface-to-air and land-attack missiles, and several anti-tank missiles, Pompeo disclosed at his press conference on Wednesday, July 8.
Iran rejected the allegation on Thursday, saying the "baseless" accusation was aimed to extend a UN arms embargo on Tehran.
Despite Tehran's denial, a UN report released in June found Iran to be the source of the cruise missiles that hit Saudi Arabia's oil facilities last September.
Furthermore, the U.S. Secretary of State said in his news briefing on that Iran's missile program violates UN resolution 2231 and is a critical threat that begs an extension of the UN arms embargo.
"We think it's so important that the world unites to extend the arms embargo that expires just a handful of months… that would be tragically dangerous for the region and would create instability throughout the Middle East," Pompeo said.
The Secretary of State described Iran's aim to "ultimately establish missile capability that is robust enough to defeat missile defense capabilities throughout the region and strike in places beyond their near neighborhood."
Pompeo also referred to Tehran's recent attempts to launch satellites and highlighted them as another aspect of the Islamic Republic's missile threat.
"We watched as they continued to build their space vehicle program, they would, of course, claim it is for civilian purposes to put a commercial satellite up, but the world is smarter than that and realizes the program is deeply connected to their desire to have a longer and longer missile range system," Pompeo reminded.
"The Security Council must extend the arms embargo on Iran to prevent further conflict in the region," Pompeo said. "No serious person can possibly believe Iran will use any weapon it receives for peaceful ends."
This week, Tehran declared it is building underground missile cities along the Persian Gulf coastline, referring to them as "a nightmare for the Islamic Republic's" enemies."
Copyright (c) 2020. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
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