The PJ Tatler

Kerry: 'We Intend to be Clear About Our Determination' to Stand Up to Iran Behaving Badly

In Saudi Arabia today, Secretary of State John Kerry vowed “we intend to be very clear about our determination going forward to stand up against any country’s illicit intervention in the affairs of another nation in a way that is challenging to regional and global security interests and other kinds of concerns.”

That was in response to a question about Iran stirring up havoc in the region.

“And that holds true with respect to our activities,” Kerry added.

The Obama administration, which wants Yemen to be settled at the United Nations, is hosting the Gulf Cooperation Council countries in Washington next week.

“The United States is deeply concerned about Iran’s activities in the region. We are planning to — we’re not planning to, we are enforcing the United Nations arms embargo requirements, et cetera. We’ve been raising the level of effort of the maritime initiative with respect to the Gulf and area, most recently with the Theodore Roosevelt being moved in and other activities that we’ve been engaged in,” Kerry said. “And one of the topics of our conversation, in the context of Paris tomorrow and Camp David, will be the further steps that we will be taking together with our allies to prevent activities that are in contravention of many United Nations resolutions and also the standards and norms of international behavior between countries.”

“So we are very, very concerned about those activities — in Iraq, with Hizballah, in Yemen, and elsewhere.”

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir, appearing at the Riyadh Air Base with Kerry, said the kingdom remains firm that “Iran should have no role in Yemen.”

“The last time I checked, Iran didn’t have a border with Yemen. And so the Iranian role in Yemen has been a negative one,” al-Jubeir said. “They have supported the Houthis financially, ideologically, as well as with weapons, and this is not helpful. They have tried to smuggle weapons into Yemen in the midst of this conflict, and we have been able to stop aircraft from landing in Sana’a airport. And the United States has been able to turn back a flotilla of Iranian ships, which we suspect were loaded with weapons that were intended to go to the Houthis.”

“So no, I do not think that Iran’s role in Yemen is a helpful one. I hope they can prevail on their allies, the Houthis, to abide by the cease-fire, but that’s my view on Iran and its role in Yemen.”