TEHRAN (Dispatches) -- Saudi Arabian support for American efforts to extend a UN arms ban on Tehran is a "bitter joke”, Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said on Tuesday.
Saudi, Bahraini and U.S. officials on Monday urged the international community to extend the UN arms embargo, claiming that letting the ban expire would allow Tehran to destabilize the region.
Speaking at a news conference alongside US Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook in Riyadh on Monday, Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir claimed that Iran would "become more ferocious and aggressive” if the arms ban were lifted.
"We urge the international community to extend the embargo on selling arms to Iran and on Iran’s ability to sell arms to the world,” Jubeir said.
Later in the day, Hook traveled to Manama, where he issued a joint anti-Iran statement with Bahraini Foreign Minister Abdullatif bin Rashid al-Zayani.
"In recognizing the grave threat posed by Iranian arms transfers in the region, and in Bahrain specifically, the United States and Bahrain call upon the United Nations Security Council to extend the arms embargo on Iran before it expires,” read the statement.
"It is surprising to see states such as Saudi Arabia -- itself a source of terrorism, extremism and instability in the region by providing support to terrorist groups such as Al-Qaeda and Daesh for years -- level baseless accusations at the Islamic Republic, which helped rid the regional countries of the mischief of such terror outfits,” Mousavi said.
"It is a bitter joke that the countries, which have for more than five years shed the blood of thousands of Yemeni people, including women and children, support a request by the U.S. representative, who toured the region (to gather
support) for the extension of the arms embargo on our country.”
The Iran arms embargo -- in place since 2006/2007 -- is set to expire on October 18 under United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 2231 that endorsed the country’s 2015 nuclear deal.
The U.S., which unilaterally withdrew from the accord in May 2018, has recently circulated a draft resolution at the UNSC to keep the ban in place.
However, Security Council veto-holding powers Russia and China have already signaled their opposition to the U.S. proposal.
"The time has come for these countries to stop making irrational rhetoric and blindly toeing the U.S. line, a country which is itself an embodiment of oppression and injustice in the world, and come to the understanding that security will not be maintained through submission to the United States,” Mousavi said.
"The only way to create stability and security in the region is to change their hostile behavior and turn to regional cooperation.”
Saudi Arabia and Bahrain are key partners in the bloody Riyadh-led military invasion of Yemen, which has already claimed in excess of 100,000 lives since it started five years ago.