Iran’s destabilisation activities must stop
2017/12/17 Issue: 136 Page: 6
The Arab Weekly
International testimony increasingly points to Iran’s consistent attempts to destabilise the Arab region. A case in point is the United States’ recently disclosed evidence regarding Iran’s role in the Yemen war.
On December 14, Nikki Haley, US ambassador to the United Nations, unveiled recently declassified evidence that Iran violated international law by funnelling missiles to Houthi rebels in Yemen.
Haley said evidence led the US intelligence community to conclude unequivocally that the weapons were supplied by the Iranian regime. She stressed that “these are Iranian-made, these are Iranian-sent and these were Iranian-given.”
Haley slammed Iran’s “blatant violations” of UN Security Council resolutions while the international community was “looking the other way.” She called on the Security Council to take a tougher stance. Tehran, she said, was making illegal arms deals in Yemen, Lebanon and Syria.
The ambassador signalled Washington’s resolve to stand up firmly to Tehran. She announced the administration’s intention to “build a coalition to really push back against Iran and what they’re doing.”
Immediate support to the US position came from Arab Gulf countries. Saudi Arabia, which is leading an Islamic coalition against terrorism, welcomed the UN report “that asserted that the hostile Iranian intervention and its support for the terrorist Houthi militia with advanced and dangerous missile capabilities threaten the security and stability of the kingdom and the region,” the official Saudi Press Agency reported.
Abu Dhabi and Bahrain also endorsed the US stance and reiterated the importance of action by the “global community.”
“The UAE calls on the global community to more forcefully address the threat posed by Iran and stand ready to work with its allies to take actions that will ensure compliance with relevant UN resolutions,” said the Emirati Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.
The US stand comes after UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’s warning on Iran’s ballistic missile development programme. Guterres said the United Nations was examining debris from missiles fired at Saudi Arabia on July 22 and at its capital, Riyadh, on November 4.
Western representatives at the United Nations have expressed concern about the possibility that the Simorgh space launch vehicle, tested by Iran on July 27, could deliver nuclear weapons.
It remains to be seen at what pace the coalition advocated by the United States will form and what shape it will take. It is also unknown what positions European countries, in particular, take.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has boldly denounced Iran’s expansionist designs in the region. “(To) the Iranian presence and the desire to make an axis from the Mediterranean to Tehran, (I say) no!” he declared in a TV interview on December 11.
He strongly criticised Iran’s behaviour in Syria. “Iran brings its militias, supports Hezbollah,” Le Drian said. “Syria must become a sovereign state again and that means (a country) independent of the pressure and presence of other countries.”