Secretary of State John Kerry told Saudi Arabia’s Al Arabiya television on Monday that Iran’s repeated threats to the United States in the aftermath of the Iran nuclear deal were “very disturbing,” but that they did not necessarily mean that Iran intended to attack America. He also suggested that despite the $150 billion in sanctions relief that Iran will receive, the Arab states of the Gulf region can unite to resist Iran.
“The Gulf states’ military budget is $130 billion. So I am saying–we are saying in the United States we think things can be done far more effectively to push back against proxy activities [by Iranian-backed militias],” Kerry said, adding that “if they organize themselves correctly, all of the Arab States have an untapped potential that is very, very significant to be able to push back against any of these activities.”
The idea that The Obama administration has argued that the nuclear deal with Iran makes the Middle East safer. However, it is offering weapons to many traditional U.S. allies in the region that have expressed fear and criticism of the deal.
The idea that the Gulf states can unite to resist Iran reflects President Barack Obama’s idea of a “new equilibrium,” where Sunni and Shia powers would maintain a balance.
Critics, however, charge that Obama’s policy amounts to boosting Iran as a regional power even as it sponsors terror throughout the region and worldwide, and as it works to topple Arab regimes.
Kerry told Al Arabiya that “we are not kidding when we talk about the importance of pushing back against extremism, against support for terrorism and proxies who are destabilizing other countries. It’s unacceptable.