KUWAIT CITY (Dispatches) -- U.S. Central Command chief General Joseph Votel urged feuding Persian Gulf Arab states on Wednesday to put aside their differences and unite against Iran’s role in the region.
Votel, who heads U.S. forces in the Middle East, called Iran an "enduring” security threat as he attended a military conference in Kuwait on Wednesday which was to be attended by Saudi Arabia and its allies, and their bitter rival Qatar.
Votel said it was "imperative" to "enhance and integrate our capabilities for our mutual national security interests" and "rise above all the other aspects."
In June 2017, Saudi Arabia and its allies cut all ties with Qatar, demanding that their erstwhile ally cut longstanding ties with the Muslim Brotherhood and take a stronger line with Iran.
The rift has proved a strategic headache for Washington as Qatar provides the main headquarters in the region for CENTCOM while rival Bahrain is home to the U.S. Fifth Fleet.
Kuwait, which along with Washington has led mediation efforts in the crisis, has said it is considering U.S. proposals for a regional alliance to counter Iran.
Votel’s incendiary remarks coincided with threats by a cabinet minister of the occupying regime of Israel, threatening "military” attack if continues expanding its nuclear program.
Intelligence minister Yisrael Katz was responding to the Iranian nuclear chief's announcement that the Islamic Republic's program stands ready to build advanced centrifuges and further enrich uranium.
In an exclusive interview with The Associated Press, Ali Akbar Salehi said Tuesday Iran won't be deterred by United States President Donald Trump's sanctions and withdrawal from the global nuclear deal.
Katz said if Iran presses forth it will face a "direct threat from the United States and its allies."