“Iran has not earned the trust to have the embargo lifted… The last thing this region needs is more Iranian weapons,” said Brian Hook, President Donald Trump’s special representative on Iran during a joint press conference in Saudi Arabia. Mr Hook stood alongside Adel Jubeir, Saudi Arabia’s minister of state for foreign affairs.
Parts of what were said to be missiles fired by Houthi rebels in Yemen were laid out behind them. Nearly 400 missiles and rockets have been fired from Yemen into Saudi Arabia, said Mr Hook, adding that this would not have been possible without assistance from Iran.
The joint press conference made no mention of the £5.3bn ($6.5bn) worth of arms reportedly sold by the UK to Saudi Arabia since the Yemen war accelerated in March 2015, nor of the large number of Yemeni civilians killed by Saudi-led coalition airstrikes, drawing widespread international criticism.
The US has been, for many years now, the largest supplier of weapons to the Gulf region but Iran has managed to defy stringent sanctions by exporting both military hardware and advisers to its proxies in the region, notably Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Houthis in Yemen.