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US Displays Arms that Iran Transferred to Middle East Militants

US Displays Arms that Iran Transferred to Middle East Militants

Friday, 30 November, 2018 - 08:30
Brian Hook, US special representative for Iran, walks past fragments of Iranian short range ballistic missiles (Qiam) at the Iranian Materiel Display (IMD) at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, in Washington, Thursday Nov. 29, 2018. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Washington - London - Atef Abdul Latif and Najlaa Habriri
The US special representative for Iran, Brian Hook, has displayed military equipment confirming that Iran is increasingly supplying weapons to militants across the Middle East and is continuing its missile program unabated.

“The new weapons we are disclosing today illustrate the scale of Iran’s destructive role across the region. The same kind of rockets here today could tomorrow land in a public market in Kabul or an international airport,” Hook said Thursday at a military hangar in Washington.

He showed reporters a collection of guns, rockets, drones and other gear. Some of these had been intercepted in the Strait of Hormuz en route to Shiite militants in the region while others had been seized by the Saudis in Yemen.

“Today, the United States is unveiling new evidence of Iran’s ongoing missile proliferation. The Iranian threat is growing and we are accumulating risk of escalation in the region if we fail to act,” said Hook.

“Iran’s support of the Houthi militants has deepened. Its backing of terrorist activities across the world has increased, and its efforts to undermine regional stability have expanded,” he added.

The centerpiece of the display was what Hook said is a Sayyad-2 surface-to-air missile system that the Saudis had intercepted in Yemen this year.

Farsi writing along the white rocket's side helped prove it was Iranian made, he said.

“The Houthis have launched Iranian-origin missiles at Riyadh, with an estimated range of 560 miles,” he said.

“Iran has funded the Houthis with hundreds of millions of dollars since the conflict broke out. With Iran’s ongoing help, the Houthi threat will grow as their capabilities steadily expand.”

According to Hook, an estimated 4.5 million barrels of oil per day transits through the Bab al-Mandab, while about 17 million barrels a day flow through the Strait of Hormuz.

“Iran has threatened repeatedly over many years to close the Strait of Hormuz. Give Iran a free hand in Yemen and it can threaten to close both straits and commit acts of maritime aggression with impunity,” he warned.

He told reporters that several new small arms of Iranian origin, such as sniper rifles, RPGs, AK variants, and hand grenades had been given by Iran to Shiite militant groups in Bahrain to carry out attacks against the government.

But Washington stands with Bahrain, which is home to the US Fifth Fleet, Hook said.

In emailed remarks to Asharq Al-Awsat, the US special representative for Iran said that Washington will continue to exert extreme pressure on Tehran’s regime so that its leaders change their “malign behavior,” respect their people’s rights and return to the negotiating table.

He stressed that his country is working, under the supervision of President Donald Trump, through its allies in the Middle East and the rest of the world to confront Iran’s nuclear threats, its support for terrorism and extremism, and its proliferation of ballistic missiles.

“Together, we will exert the required pressure to push Iran into changing its behavior,” Hook added.

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