Saudi Arabia and US push for extension of Iran arms embargo

Saudi Arabia's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel Al-Jubeir (C,R) and US Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook (C,L), check the display of the debris of ballistic missiles and weapons, in Riyadh. (Reuters)
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Updated 30 June 2020

Saudi Arabia and US push for extension of Iran arms embargo

  • Kingdom on Sunday seized weapons shipment sent by Tehran to Houthi militias in Yemen

JEDDAH: Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel Al-Jubeir and US Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook on Monday called on the international community to extend a UN embargo on sales of weapons to Iran to prevent any expansion of the nation’s state-sponsored terrorism.

Speaking during a joint press conference in Riyadh, Al-Jubeir said Saudi and US policies on Iran are identical.
“We both see Iran as a grave danger not only to regional stability, but international stability,” he said.
“We believe that Iran is the chief sponsor of terrorism and that the international community has to be more firm in dealing with the Iranians and their proxies.”
To illustrate the threat, the Arab Coalition displayed weapons, including drones and missiles, believed to have been supplied by Iran to Houthi militias in Yemen, which were used in cross-border attacks on Saudi cities.
Iran-backed Houthis have carried out 1,659 attacks on Saudi Arabia in the past five years, using a variety of weapons, including 318 ballistic missiles, 371 drones, 64 explosive boats and 153 naval mines. The attacks are designed to threaten and target civilians, harm the global economy and disrupt shipping in violation of international and humanitarian laws, the coalition said.

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Al-Jubeir said a shipment of weapons from Iran bound for Houthi militias was seized off the Yemeni coast on Sunday. It is unlikely to be the last shipment, he added, and so the international community must extend the embargo to limit Iran’s ability to supply weapons.
The UN embargo, which imposed 13 years ago, is due to expire in October. Adopted under UN Resolution 1747, which tightened sanctions in response to Tehran’s refusal to halt its nuclear program, it prohibits Iran from moving conventional weapons beyond its borders.
Al-Jubeir said that Tehran continues to supply terrorist groups with weapons despite the embargo, and if it is lifted Iran will become even more aggressive and disruptive.
US envoy Hook agreed, saying: “The weapons that we see here today ... are all the evidence we need that the arms embargo on Iran must not be lifted. We need to ensure that Iran has a harder time spreading deadly weapons.
“This is a fraction of the kind of deadly arms that have made their way not only here to Saudi Arabia, but around the Middle East, so this is the right time for the Security Council to do the right and necessary thing.”
Both officials agreed that the international community must put strong pressure on Tehran to abide by international laws, cease its support of terrorism, stop dealing with criminal organizations and drug cartels, and halt the killing of innocent people.
They added that Washington and Riyadh are working closely to mobilize international allies in an attempt to end this threat posed by Iran to the international community. Al-Jubeir said that this threat extends beyond the Gulf region to Europe, South America and Asia.
“We both wish for nothing more than Iran to be a normal country that lives in the international community the way other countries do, respecting international law and the sovereignty of other states, not interfering in their internal affairs, and that it (ends) its ballistic missile and terrorism programs,” he added.
The minister said that the Iranian regime grows more ideological and aggressive with every passing year, increasing its interference in the affairs of other countries at the cost of innocent lives.
Hook said that the five permanent members of the UN Security Council — the US, the UK, China, France and Russia — have a shared interest in ensuring the Middle East is more peaceful and stable, and that Iran never acquires the ability to build a nuclear weapon. He is hopeful and optimistic, therefore, that they will make the right decision regarding the arms embargo on national security grounds.

He added that the Iranian regime had exploited the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the so-called Iran nuclear deal, as a cover to further its expansionist and sectarian foreign policies. US President Donald Trump withdrew the US from the agreement in May 2018.

However, the regime is increasingly facing rejection, especially in Iraq and Lebanon, and even within its own borders, Hook said.

“Iran faced the worst wave of protests in the past 41 years last November,” he said.

“The regime responded to the demonstrations by killing 1,500 people, injuring thousands and arresting between 8,000 and 10,000 people.”

If the arms embargo expires, Iran will acquire new technologies and step up exports to its proxies in the region, he added.

Hook also praised Saudi Arabia’s prominent humanitarian role in Yemen, compared with Iran’s complicity in the humanitarian catastrophe afflicting the war-torn country.

Hook also met with the Kingdom's deputy defense minister Prince Khalid bin Salman, and they discussed the bilateral relations between the two countries and stressed the importance in preserving peace and security in the region and addressing the destabilizing hostile activities of Iran.

Talking about the recent attacks on the Kingdom from Houthi rockets and drones, Prince Khalid reiterated Saudi Arabia's support for US efforts to stop all malicious Iranian activities, repeated violations, and terrorist and subversive acts in the region.


Pilgrims to quarantine for 14 days after Hajj

More than 41,361 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests have been conducted in the past 24 hours. (SPA)
Updated 04 August 2020

Pilgrims to quarantine for 14 days after Hajj

  • COVID-19 cases in Saudi Arabia continue to fall, officials say

JEDDAH: Pilgrims who took part in this year’s Hajj must continue wearing electronic tags so authorities can track their 14-day quarantine once they return home.

The bracelet is designed to monitor pilgrims’ adherence to quarantine, as well as monitoring and recording their health status through the “Tatamman” app.
Pilgrims were required to quarantine before embarking on the Hajj and wore the bracelets to ensure they were obeying the self-isolation rules as part of strict measures to contain the spread of coronavirus.
The country continues to experience a decline in COVID-19 cases. Recorded infections remain below the 2,000 mark for the 10th day in a row. The Kingdom reported 1,258 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, raising the number of those infected to 280,093 so far.
There are currently 35,091 active cases and six patients were admitted to critical care units, raising the number to 2,017. There were 32 new fatalities, raising the death toll to 2,949.
There were 1,972 new recoveries recorded, raising the total number of recoveries to 242,053.
More than 41,361 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests have been conducted in the past 24 hours. The total number of PCR tests conducted to date exceeds 3.47 million.

INNUMBERS

280,093 COVID-19 cases

242,053 Recoveries

35,091 Active cases

2,949 Total deaths

3.47m PCR tests

The Ministry of Health has been carrying out daily visits to health institutions in order to assess their level of commitment to anti-coronavirus measures, such as ensuring that staff adhere to social distancing, wear masks, and adopt the health practices and crisis management mechanisms recommended by authorities to protect patients and staff.
Teams have been dispatched to supervise the compliance of health facilities’ quarantine centers across Saudi Arabia and stepped up their visits to government and private hospitals to ensure their compliance with health protocols, sample transfers and staff testing as well as ensuring that all routine surgeries are stopped.
More than 5,000 violations have been recorded and violators were referred to committees. More than 150 facilities were temporarily shut down by the ministry until the proper protocols were implemented and the violations were fixed. A number of institutions were able to resume operations after settling fines.