AL-KHARJ: Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman met US Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook in Riyadh, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Friday.
During the meeting, they discussed relations between the two countries and efforts to counter hostile Iranian activities that threaten the security and stability of the region.
The latest Iranian attacks on the Kingdom, including its support of Houthi terrorist militias in Yemen by providing drones and missiles to attack civilian facilities as well as recent attacks on the two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman, were also discussed.
In a tweet, Prince Khalid said: “We affirmed the Kingdom’s support for the United States maximum pressure campaign on Iran, which came as a result of continuing Iranian hostility and terrorism, and discussed the latest Iranian attacks on the Kingdom.”
The two sides discussed the latest developments in Yemen, especially Iran’s efforts to spread terrorism as well as its use of Yemen as its main center for carrying out aggressive acts.
“…(Iran) neglects the humanitarian needs of the Yemeni people in favor of using the country as the main launchpad for its regional terrorism,” Prince Khalid said.
Later, speaking to reporters in Al-Kharj, Hook said that the Iranian regime practiced an aggressive foreign policy and it was important to do everything to de-escalate tensions.
Hook said: “The Iranian regime runs an expansionist and violent foreign policy through surrogacy such as the Houthis, Shia militia in Iraq and Syria, Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.”
“On the latest efforts to counter Iranian attacks through their surrogates in Saudi Arabia, our maximum pressure campaign against Iran is working, Iran is feeling the pressure of the campaign,” he said.
“I was able to tour the display of Iranian weapons that have been intercepted in Saudi Arabia and this display is important; the entire world needs to see,” Hook said.
“We have a similar display in Washington, DC at our Department of Defense and there is, without a doubt, Iran’s efforts to use surrogates who they train and equip to attack Saudi Arabia and destabilize the region, which needs to be countered.”
“The US works very closely with the coalition to degrade the Houthis’ military capabilities to improve targeting and to check armed shipments,” he said. “If we do not succeed in this effort to counter Iran in Yemen, we will increase the risk of regional conflict in the region,” he said.
“It is also important as we see Iran threatening the freedom of navigation in the Strait of Hormuz,” he said, adding that it was vital that Iran did not gain a base in Yemen.
“This is certainly the long game that the Iranian regime is playing and the world right now is very focused on what’s happening in the Gulf, and what is happening in the Strait of Hormuz,” Hook said.
“Iran has ambition to take that same playbook and apply it in Bab-el-Mandeb, which would further threaten freedom of navigation and the free flow of commerce,” he said. “So it is important that we deny Iran a foothold in the Gulf.”