Saudi Arabia’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir called on the international community to continue its pressure on the Iranian regime to change its destructive behavior in the region, branding the Islamic Republic as “the largest sponsor of terrorism in the world.”
During a session hosted by the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament in Brussels, al-Jubeir tackled several issues affecting the stability of the region.
He said Saudi Arabia had extended its hand to Iran since 1979 but has seen nothing “but death and destruction [from Iran].”
“[The Iranian regime] does not believe in the principle of non-interference. They are the largest sponsor of terrorism in the world, that’s why we have a problem with Iran,” said al-Jubeir in front of the European Parliament.
He added that “pressure needs to be continued on Iran” so that it changes its behavior in the region.
Speaking about the protests in Iran, Iraq and Lebanon, al-Jubeir said the Iranian regime is losing influence internally and regionally.
“Now the Iranians are on the defensive, they have demonstrations in Iran, you have Shiite demonstrating in Iraq against Iran’s influence and you have demonstrations in Lebanon against Hezbollah. These are all reactions to Iran’s aggressive policies in the region,” said al-Jubeir.
Al-Jubeir also affirmed the Kingdom’s stance toward achieving a political solution to end the war in Yemen.
“We have worked on de-escalation. The Houthis have reduced their missile attacks against Saudi Arabia. Military operations in Yemen are now substantially reduced - by 80 percent. There have been confidence building measures associated with ports and airports and exchange of prisoners,” he said.
Al-Jubeir pointed out that the international community stopped short of blaming the Iranian-allied Houthi militia for the killing and maiming of thousands of innocent Yemenis. “Nobody said anything, and we get blamed. There is something fundamentally wrong with this picture,” he said.
He added that Saudi Arabia had provided $14 billion to Yemen in economic and humanitarian assistance, “more than any country in the world,” but the Houthis had taken it for themselves.
Al-Jubeir said the Houthi militia launched more than 300 ballistic missile attacks against the kingdom and more than 200 drone attacks and nobody blamed these acts.
“The Houthis besieged towns and villages and lead their people to starve and the coalition [Arab coalition supporting the Yemeni legitimate government] gets the blame.”
He said the European Union has an important military and economic role to play in the region.
Regarding the Qatar boycott, al-Jubeir said the problem still exists and that “it is up to the Qatari brothers to come up with a change in their behavior that would allow the way to move forward.”
“We have issues with Qatar’s support for extremism and terrorism. We have issues with Qatar providing ransom payment to terrorist organization like Hezbollah in Iraq and others to get back prisoners. This is financing terrorism. We have issues with Qatar harboring known terror financiers. We have issues with Qatar interfering in domestic affairs and we have made those issues clear to our brothers in Qatar. We hope they will be able to change their behavior and act like a normal country,” said al-Jubeir.