US: Iran destabilizing region, heightens risks of arms race



Wed, 20 Mar 2019 - 02:48 GMT


Wed, 20 Mar 2019 - 02:48 GMT

Assistant Secretary of State Yleem Poblete, the administration’s top arms-control official. (Photo: State Dep’t)

Assistant Secretary of State Yleem Poblete, the administration’s top arms-control official. (Photo: State Dep’t)

CAIRO – 20 March 2019: Yleem Poblete, assistant secretary of state for arms control, verification, and compliance, said on Wednesday that Iran's missile program is destabilizing the Middle East and raising the risk of a "regional arms race.”

In a statement to the UN-sponsored Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, the senior U.S. arms control official said Iran’s missile program is a key contributor to increased tensions and destabilization in the region.

"Iran must immediately cease activities related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, and halt the proliferation of missiles and missile technology to terror groups and other non-state actors,” he added.

Poblete specifically cited Iran's support for Houthi rebels in Yemen and the Hezbollah militant group in Lebanon.

The United States has urged the United Nations Security Council to impose sanctions on Iran over its recent ballistic-missile test and launches of two satellites, saying they violate the world body's resolutions.

The United States has reimposed sanctions against Iran after withdrawing from a landmark 2015 agreement under which Tehran agreed to restrictions on its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.

President Donald Trump said that Tehran was not living up to the “spirit” of the accord because of its support of militants in the region and for continuing to test nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.

Poblete further said that Iran has provided ballistic missiles to the Houthis, who on several occasions fired them into Saudi Arabia.

"We are committed to aggressively countering Iran's regional proliferation of ballistic missiles and its unlawful arms transfers," she added.

Iran has denied it supplied the missiles to the rebels despite evidence presented by Washington and Riyadh indicating it had.



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