RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — US and Saudi officials call for extending a UN arms embargo on Iran, warning of major implications for regional security amid accusations that Tehran was arming Yemeni rebels.
The embargo, put in place as part of a nuclear accord signed with Tehran in 2015, is set to expire in October but Washington is working to extend the ban as tensions with its arch-rival remain high.
Lifting the ban will “embolden” Tehran, and could trigger a regional arms race, US Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook tells reporters in Riyadh.
“This is not an outcome that the UN Security Council can accept,” Hook says at a joint news conference with Adel al-Jubeir, the Saudi minister of state for foreign affairs.
At the venue of the conference, Saudi officials displayed remnants of intercepted missiles and drones they said were supplied by Iran to Yemen’s Houthi rebels.
Iran denies arming the rebels.
The Houthis have recently targeted Saudi cities, including the capital Riyadh, with a series of missile and drone strikes.
“Iran seeks to provide weapons to terrorist organizations. What will happen if the embargo is lifted?” Jubeir says.
“Iran will become more… aggressive,” he adds.
Earlier this month, a UN report said cruise missiles and drones used in attacks last year on Saudi oil facilities were “of Iranian origin.”
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned last week of a return of UN sanctions on Iran if the Security Council fails to extend an embargo.
France, Britain and Germany, which all still support the nuclear deal, have also said they supported extending the embargo.
No date has been scheduled for a vote on the resolution and it is unlikely to pass, as veto-wielding China and Russia have already spoken out against extending the embargo.