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US: Iran’s Support to Houthis Prolongs Conflict in Yemen | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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A man looks at war damage in the northwestern city of Saada, Yemen September 10, 2016. (Reuters)

Washington– Washington has again declared it will never allow the Iranian regime to obtain nuclear weapons given that Tehran’s activities are threatening positive contributions for peace.

The State Department stated that through its support of terrorist organizations, Iran is destabilizing the region.

“The United States will continue to use sanctions to target those who lend support to Iran’s destabilizing behavior and above all, the United States will never allow the regime in Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon,” said the State Department, adding that it will keep its cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to continue the monitoring and verification of all of Iran’s nuclear commitments.

This is the first statement issued by the State Department since it announced earlier this year it is reviewing the nuclear deal with Iran.

The statement considered Iran’s continuous testing of ballistic missiles a direct defiance of UN Resolution 2231. It said the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action expects participants to fully implement the JCPOA which will “positively contribute to regional and international peace and security.”

The US administration informed the Congress on July 17 that it will continue to waive sanctions as required to continue implementing US sanctions-lifting commitments in the JCPOA. But at the same time, the statement pointed out that Iran’s malign activities outside the nuclear issue “undermine the positive contributions to regional and international peace and security that the deal was supposed to provide.”

Speaking of the crisis in Yemen, the State Department strongly condemned Iran’s regional behavior, saying its continuous support to Houthi insurgents inside the country is prolonging the Yemen conflict.

Tehran’s regime is providing Houthis with “advanced weaponry that threatens freedom of navigation in the Red Sea and has been used to attack Saudi Arabia,” according to the statement.

In a related issue, the State Department blamed Iran for its support of terrorist groups such as Hezbollah, Hamas, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, while maintaining a “steadfast support for the Assad regime, despite Assad’s atrocities against his own people.”

The US demanded the immediate release of US citizens Baquer Namazi, Siamak Namazi, and Xiyue Wang, and all other unjustly detained in Iran.

The statement expressed Washington’s concern about reports of the declining health of the Namazis, Wang, and other detained US citizens.

“Iran should immediately release all of these US citizens on humanitarian grounds,” declared the State Department.

Robert Levinson, a US citizen, disappeared from Iran’s Kish Island over a decade ago, and, according to the statement, Iran committed to cooperating with the United States in bringing him home. It asked Iran to fulfill this commitment.

“The United States remains unwavering in its efforts to return Bob to his family. The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) has offered a $5 million reward for any information that could lead to Bob’s safe return,” added the statement.

Washington also condemned the Iranian regime’s flagrant human rights record, including its denial of freedom of religion or belief as well as other human rights and fundamental freedoms to individuals.

“Notably, arbitrary arrest and detention of members of religious minorities and political activists, is common as is the use of torture and other forms of abuse in detention,” pointed out the statement.