US and GCC condemn Iran for supporting terrorism and supplying weapons

Senior officials meeting in Riyadh said Tehran's assistance to Houthis has prolonged Yemen conflict

US President Joe Biden and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the Jeddah Security and Development Summit in Jeddah last summer. AFP
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The US and the GCC member states have condemned Iran’s continued destabilising policies — including its support for terrorism and the use of advanced missiles, cyber weapons and drones.

This condemnation came at an Iran working group meeting of senior US and GCC officials at the Gulf bloc's headquarters in Riyadh on Thursday.

“Iran and its proxies and partners have used these Iranian weapons in attacks striking civilians, critical infrastructure and international maritime shipping,” the GCC and US said in a joint statement said.

The Riyadh gathering, between February 13 and 16, featured US officials from the State Department, Pentagon and the National Security Council.

Saudi Arabia has been a target of missile and drone attacks from Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen. The kingdom led an intervention against the Houthis in 2015, at the request of Yemen's internationally recognised government.

At this week's Riyadh gathering, the US and GCC raised concerns about Iran’s provision of advanced missiles, drones and other weapons to the Houthis that have prolonged the conflict in Yemen.

Officials said Iran’s continuing deployment of weapons to states and other groups poses a security threat to the region and the world.

They said Iran’s nuclear advances, documented by nuclear watchdog the International Atomic Energy Agency — which include the production of highly enriched uranium — have no credible purpose and are exacerbating regional and global tensions.

The GCC and US called on Iran to cease its nuclear provocations and fully co-operate with IAEA investigations into particles of nuclear material found at undeclared locations in the country.

American officials reaffirmed US President Biden’s commitment to stopping Iran acquiring a nuclear weapon.

In another meeting on Friday, the US and the GCC countries agreed that more needs to be done to safely repatriate, rehabilitate and reintegrate people in camps in north-eastern Syria, in order to reduce the risk of a resurgence of ISIS in Syria and Iraq.

Updated: February 17, 2023, 2:13 PM