Brian Hook: If Iran is not countered in Yemen, conflict risk will increase

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The United States envoy on Iran, Brian Hook, said on Friday that if Iran was not countered in Yemen, the risk of a regional conflict in the Middle East will increase.

“Iran’s efforts to use surrogates to attack Saudi Arabia and destabilize the region needs to be countered,” he said.

It is important that Iran “does not gain a foothold in Yemen” to threaten the strait of Bab al-Mandeb, he added.

The envoy also said it was important to de-escalate tensions with Iran.

“Our diplomacy does not give Iran the right to respond with military force, Iran needs to meet our diplomacy with diplomacy and not military force,” he told a news conference in the Saudi capital Riyadh. “It's important we do everything we can to de-escalate.”

US sanctions on Iran have denied it “tens of billions of dollars in revenues for the IRGC to launch attacks directly or indirectly,” according to Hook, who also called Saudi Arabia “very helpful” in ensuring a stable oil market amid fears of energy disruption because of growing military tension in the Middle East.

Iran “responds to diplomacy with diplomacy ... war with firm defense,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said on Friday on his Twitter account, reacting to remarks by US envoy Brian Hook.

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