Manama: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Washington would use every possible tool to end threats posed by Iran and its Al Houthi proxies against Saudi Arabia and the international community.
“Today, Iran is firing missiles. They’re using Al Houthis as a proxy force, but Iran is firing missiles into Saudi Arabia, endangering not only the lives of the Saudi people but all of those who transit,” Pompeo said in an interview with Sky News on Saturday.
“Lebanese businesspeople who go to Saudi Arabia, Americans and Europeans who are doing visits in Riyadh are under threat from the ayatollah and from Qassem Sulaimani [commander of the Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force]. This is unacceptable and we’re going to use every tool that we can to achieve the outcome that, frankly, the people in Yemen want and the people of the region are going to continue to demand.”
The Yemen crisis erupted in the wake of an armed conflict caused by the Iranian-backed Al Houthis’ coup that ousted the internationally recognised government in September 2014.
The conflict escalated after a Saudi-led Arab coalition sought in March 2015 to reinstate the legitimate government.
The Yemeni government and the coalition have accused Iran of supplying Al Houthis with weapons, including ballistic missiles, smuggled through sea routes.
A breakthrough agreement reached in Stockholm in December provided for a ceasefire in the port city of Hodeida, redeployment of the forces of both sides, exchange of prisoners and ending the blockade imposed by Al Houthis on Taiz. That agreement is yet to materialise.
The US administration said it was losing patience with Al Houthis.
On Thursday, Pompeo who was on a tour to the region that took him to Kuwait, Israel and Lebanon, said he looked forward to pressure Iran to convince Al Houthis “to return to the political table”.
“We’re very hopeful that this pressure will convince Al Houthis that they need to return to the political table, they need to have a discussion, they cannot win this militarily, and we’re determined to ensure that order is restored in Yemen,” he told Al Arabiya.
The US official said he believed “there’s very little that Al Houthis do without directions from Khameini and Sulaimani.”
Earlier, he told the US media traveling with him that the US administration goal was “to deny the Iranians the resources to continue to foment terror.”
“Remember the simple goal. The simple goal is to get Iran to behave like a normal nation: stop blowing up things around the world; stop fomenting terrorism; stop their assassination campaign in Europe; stop underwriting Al Houthis, Hamas, Hezbollah. Simple things – the same things we ask every nation in the world to do we’re asking of the Islamic Republic of Iran,” he said.