US President Donald Trump notified Congress on Monday that he was extending the national emergency with Iran that has been in place since the 1979 hostage crisis.
“Our relations with Iran have not yet normalized, and the process of implementing the agreements with Iran, dated January 19, 1981, is ongoing,” Trump wrote Congress in the formal notice.
The Trump administration has vowed to confront Iran much more aggressively in the region, where it shares the Saudi view that Tehran is fomenting instability via a number of proxies in Lebanon, Syria and Yemen among other countries. Tehran denies the allegations.
Last month, Trump decertified the Iran nuclear deal brokered by the Obama administration, leaving it to Congress to decide whether to reimpose sanctions.
Events in Saudi Arabia in recent days appeared to open the prospect for a sharper confrontation with Iran and its proxies.
Saudi Arabia accused Lebanon on Monday of declaring war against it because of what it called aggression by the Iran-backed Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah.
Saudi-allied Lebanese politician Saad al-Hariri quit as prime minister on Saturday, announcing his resignation from Riyadh and blaming Iran and Hezbollah in his resignation speech.
Also on Saturday, Saudi Arabia’s air defense forces intercepted a ballistic missile fired from warring Yemen over the capital, Riyadh.
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