Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Yemen Declare Support for Trump’s Iran Strategy

Trump sounds like he won't certify Iran's nuclear deal compliance come the next deadline on Oct.15. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)
AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews

The governments of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen quickly expressed support for President Trump’s tough new approach to Iran.

In a statement published Friday afternoon by the Saudi Press Agency, the Kingdom said it welcomes President Trump’s “resolute strategy” for Iran, “praising his vision in this regard” and pledging to work with the U.S. and its allies against “Iran’s aggressive policies and actions.”

The Saudis said they originally supported the Iran nuclear deal, believing it was “necessary to limit the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction in our region and the world.”

“However, Iran had exploited the economic benefits of lifting the sanctions and used them to continue to destabilize the region, especially through its ballistic missile development program and support of terrorism, in the region, including Hezbollah and the Houthi militias, in Yemen,” the statement continued.

The Saudis further responded to Iran’s claims that its ballistic missile program is purely defensive in nature, pointing out that Iran has a history of providing weapons to hostile actors such as the Houthis, who have used those weapons not only against the legitimate government of Yemen but to interfere with navigation through international waters.

Also mentioned in the statement were Iran’s “continuing cyber-attacks against the Kingdom and other regional countries.”

“From this perspective, the Kingdom reaffirms full commitment to continue to work with partners in the United States and the international community to achieve the objectives declared by the President of the United States and the need to address threats posed by Iran’s policies to international peace and security, within a wider perspective beyond Iran’s nuclear program, to include its all aggressive activities, in order to cut off all avenues for Iran to acquire weapons of mass destruction,” the Saudi statement concluded.

The United Arab Emirates issued a similar statement of support for President Trump on Friday afternoon.

“For too long, the Iranian regime has spread destruction and chaos throughout the region and beyond. The nuclear deal—the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)—offered Iran an opportunity to engage responsibly with the international community. Instead, it only emboldened Iran to intensify its provocative and destabilizing behavior,” said the Emirati Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The UAE offered a list of complaints against Iran’s “malign behavior” similar to the Saudis’, including ballistic missiles, support for terrorists such as Hezbollah and the Houthis, cyber-espionage, and interfering with the freedom of navigation.

The Emirates added a round of applause for the U.S. Treasury Department’s designation of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization, calling it “a strong measure that will help limit Iran’s dangerous activities as the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism.”

“The UAE welcomes and endorses the new U.S. strategy. We reaffirm our commitment to working with the U.S. and our allies to counter the full range of Iran’s destabilizing activities and its support for extremists,” the Foreign Ministry concluded.

Since both Saudi Arabia and the UAE mentioned Yemen in their statements, it is worth noting that Yemen’s internationally-recognized government also issued a statement of support for President Trump’s strategy on Friday.

The government of Yemen castigated Iran’s “attempts to use the Houthi rebels as puppets to destabilize the region,” in line with its campaign to “export violence and terrorism” across the Middle East.

“Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has been supporting and arming the Houthis in Yemen with sophisticated missiles and other technologies including sea mines and explosive boats, which not only threaten the region’s stability but also threatens freedom of navigation in the Red Sea. Iran’s destabilizing and dangerous behavior must stop for peace to prevail in the region,” said the Yemeni statement.