Obama: As World Lifts Iran Arms Embargo, US Should Work With Israel, Gulf States to Stop Iranian Arms Shipments
Though the nuclear deal with Iran calls for a lifting of international arms sanctions against Iran after 5 years, President Barack Obama on Monday said the U.S. should double down with its allies in the Middle East to prevent Iranian arms shipments to terrorist groups like Hezbollah and Hamas.
Obama said the U.S. had mechanisms at hand under international law to prevent arms shipments from Iran to its proxies in the region. The president said he had discussed increasing defense ties with U.S. allies in the region, such as Gulf states and Israel, to interdict weapons shipments.
Defending the nuclear deal, Obama insisted that having struck the agreement between world powers and Iran, the U.S. had a freer hand to work closely with Israel and Gulf states to contain expanding Iranian influence.
The president hammered home that Iran is “currently supporting Hezbollah” and said the U.S. should provide more assistance to stopping arms shipments to the group. He said Iran was still liable to cheat on the nuclear deal, and remained a destabilizing actor in the Middle East.
The president also warned that if Congress votes to block the deal, Washington would not be in the same position it was to impose sanctions on Iran because the U.S. would lose the backing of “99% of the world community” that apparently supports the Iran deal.
Israel, Gulf states and other opponents of the nuclear deal lament the windfall of unfrozen assets it will provide Tehran to pursue subversive activities through its proxies throughout the region. On Wednesday, the Times of Israel reported that Iran, after four months of delays, had renewed the transfer of funds to Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and other terrorist groups bent on Israel’s destruction.