“Both our countries believe those who conduct business with the Revolutionary Guard, any of their entities, European companies or other companies around the world really do so at great risk,” US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said at a joint news conference in Riyadh with the Saudi Foreign Minister, Adel Al-Jubeir.
The US last week announced tough new sanctions against the IRGC because of its support for terrorism, effectively excluding it from the US financial system. Companies doing business with the group also risk penalties.
Al-Jubeir said the two men had discussed the Qatar crisis, along with terrorism and extremism in Syria, Iraq and the Middle East. He said Saudi Arabia and the US held identical views on most issues and their relationship was “age-old and friendly.”
Tillerson also met King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and took part in discussions with members of the newly formed Saudi-Iraq Coordinating Council, which he said would open up wide areas of cooperation between the two countries.
“There will be tremendous economic opportunities in Iraq where Saudi Arabia could participate in accordance with the Saudi Vision 2030,” he said.
Rebuilding Iraq and developing its infrastructure were challenges, he said. The new council would give confidence to the Iraqis, strengthen their independence and help flush out terror from the country.
Tillerson also urged Iran-backed militias in Iraq to withdraw.
“Now that the fight against Daesh is coming to a close, those militias need to go home. The foreign fighters in Iraq need to go home and allow the Iraqi people to regain control,” he said.
After Riyadh, Tillerson’s six-day trip continues in Qatar, Pakistan, India and Switzerland.