RIYADH: Iran faces grave consequences if it continues to indulge in proxy wars with neighboring Arab countries, threatening the peace and stability in the Middle East, representatives of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) have warned.
In statements issued on the 37th anniversary of the GCC’s establishment, delegates criticized Iran’s role in the Yemen conflict and Tehran’s continued support to the Houthi militia, who have so far fired more than 100 ballistic missiles at Saudi Arabia.
“Maintaining security and stability in the region is the first priority of the Gulf states,” said GCC Secretary-General Abdullateef Al-Zayani.
Al-Zayani said he appreciated “the pivotal role of the Saudi leadership in backing the GCC General Secretariat to achieve the collective goals and implement the resolutions of the Supreme Council.”
He called on Iran “to refrain from meddling in the affairs of Arab nations, and stop supplying arms and ammunition to Houthi militants to save Yemen from the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.”
The “All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Yemen” in the British Parliament last Wednesday released its annual report on the situation in the war-stricken country, warning, for the first time, of “Iran’s hand in the civil war and its attempt to project power on the Arabian peninsula.”
The APPG observed that “cooperation with non-state actors is an integral part of Iran’s foreign policy through which it seeks to consolidate power across the region.” As examples of this strategy, the group named Iran’s support for the Lebanon-based militant organization Hezbollah, as well as Iranian militias in Syria and Iraq.
It further noted that “Iran’s stance against the war must be judged in the context of its desire to undermine the Western and Saudi influence in Yemen.”
The British group has warned that Tehran’s arming of the Houthi rebels has led to a “major escalation” in the conflict.
Commenting on these reports, Mohammed Al-Khunaizi, a Saudi Shoura Council member, said: “Iran has had complicity in most of the regional conflicts, and the involvement of Tehran has been hampering all efforts to restore peace and security in the Middle East.”
He said: “Iran is in non-compliance with paragraph 14 of UNSC resolution 2216, as a UN panel has already identified missile remnants, related military equipment that are of Iranian origin and were/are being used in Yemen.”
“The growing involvement of Iran in the affairs of the Arab nations has led many of its Arab neighbors to distance itself from Tehran,” said Dr. Ibrahim Al-Qayid, the founding member of the National Society of Human Rights (NSHR).
In fact, the Arab League has recently supported Morocco’s decision to sever ties with Iran over its support for the Polisario Front, he said.