US Official Says US-Saudi Cooperation Deterred Potential Iranian Attack

A top U.S. official said Sunday that close cooperation between the United States and Saudi Arabia deterred a possible Iranian attack

The United States is focusing on deterring threats in the region, Brett McGurk, the U.S. National Security Council Coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa, told the annual Manama Dialogue conference in Bahrain.

American forces have “exposed and deterred imminent threats” by Iran, McGurk said.

McGurk claimed that an attack on Riyadh likely did not occur due to the close security cooperation between Saudi Arabia and the United States. 

He called the close cooperation both ongoing and continuous. 

“Partnerships are the first principle for U.S. policy in the region: strengthening them, developing new ones, and building alliances to address challenges such as Iran, food and energy security, and climate change,” he said.

McGurk continued that the U.S. is actively building and enabling an integrated air and maritime defense architecture in the Middle East region, but did not specify which countries were involved in the creation of the defense system. 

McGurk’s comments come at a time when Iran has acknowledged providing drones to Russia after previously claiming that it had never supplied weapons to Russia.

Iran supports militias across the region. 

Tehran provided a “small number of drones” to Russia in the months before Moscow launched an invasion of Ukraine, Iran’s foreign minister said recently. McGurk said that Iran providing Russia with drones and missiles is just one piece of the puzzle. 

“Iran and Russia are developing a military consortium that could increase Iran’s capabilities significantly,” he explained. 

Calls for unity against Iran’s aggression in the region were echoed throughout the conference organized by the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

“Gulf countries have been warning for years about the risks of Iran’s drones — it took us too long to understand that we must work to prevent other forms of weapons proliferation, as well as nuclear weapons,” the European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said.

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