Munich:  Iran is building and arming an increasingly powerful network of proxies in countries such as Syria, Yemen and Iraq that can turn against the governments of those states, US National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster said yesterday.

“What’s particularly concerning is that this network of proxies is becoming more and more capable, as Iran seeds more and more ... destructive weapons into these networks,” McMaster told the annual Munich Security Conference.

“So the time is now, we think, to act against Iran,” he said.

He also said that public reports showed that the regime of Bashar Al Assad was using chemical weapons and added that it was time for the international community to hold the government accountable.

“Public accounts and photos clearly show that Al Assad’s chemical weapons use is continuing,” McMaster said at the conference.

“It is time for all nations to hold the Syrian regime and its sponsors accountable for their actions and support the efforts of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons,” he added.

McMaster did not specify which public accounts or pictures he was referring to.

Earlier this month, US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis said the Syrian regime had repeatedly used chlorine gas, but stressed that the US did not have evidence of sarin gas use.