U.S. Secretary of Defense vows to confront Iran during his visit to Bahrain

Dubai, United Arab Emirates – U.S. top defense official vowed Saturday to stop Iran Acquire nuclear weapons And combat its “dangerous use” Suicide drone In the wider Middle East, a promise is coming, because Tehran’s nuclear agreement with the world’s powers is still at a standstill.

The comments made by Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin at the annual Manama Dialogue in Bahrain appeared to be aimed at appeasing U.S. Arab allies in the Gulf region as the Biden administration tried to restore the nuclear agreement, which restricted Iran’s uranium enrichment. In exchange for lifting economic sanctions.

His remarks were also made after the Gulf Emirates saw the chaos in the United States Withdraw troops from AfghanistanThis raises concerns about U.S. commitments to the region, because defense officials have stated that they want to adjust power to meet perceived challenges from China and Russia.

“The United States is still committed to preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. We are still committed to the diplomatic achievements of the nuclear issue,” Austin told attendees at an event organized by the International Institute for Strategic Studies. “But if Iran is unwilling to participate seriously, then we will consider all necessary options to ensure the safety of the United States.”

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Iran has long insisted that its nuclear program is peaceful, even though US intelligence agencies and the International Atomic Energy Agency have stated that Tehran had an organized weapons program before 2003. The Iranian mission to the United Nations did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Saturday.

Since U.S. President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from the Iran nuclear agreement in 2018, A series of escalating events It has already hit the wider Middle East. This includes drone and mine attacks against ships at sea, as well as attacks blamed on Iran and its proxies in Iraq and Syria. The United States also killed a senior Iranian general in Baghdad in early 2020, when Iran used ballistic missiles to target U.S. troops in Iraq.

Under Biden’s leadership, U.S. military officials are considering a wider reorganization of the military from the Middle East to other regions, although it still maintains a large presence in bases throughout the region. Austin hinted at this in his speech when he said: “Our potential shocks include what our friends can contribute, what we have pre-positioned, and the content we can stream in quickly.”

“Our friends and enemies know that the United States can deploy an overwhelming force at the time and place we choose,” Austin said.

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Austin’s comments also involved the ongoing war in Yemen, and the Biden administration stopped offensive support shortly after he took office.

Since 2015, Saudi Arabia has led a military operation against the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels that control the Yemeni capital Sana’a. The Houthi armed forces launched drone and ballistic missile attacks on Saudi Arabia in retaliation for a punitive aerial bombing operation that also caused civilian deaths.

However, although Saudi Arabia continues to claim that every UAV and missile launched by the Houthis has been successfully intercepted by its defense system, Austin has set this rate at “nearly 90%.” A few months ago, the United States also withdrew the THAAD air defense system and Patriot missile company from the Prince Sultan Air Base.

“We will work with them until it reaches 100%,” he said.

The Manama Dialogue is held every year in Bahrain. Bahrain is a small island nation off the coast of Saudi Arabia and home to the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet. Bahrain has also carried out activities to suppress dissent for several years. Activists wrote to Austin before the trip, urging him to raise the issue of the island’s detention of prisoners and Bahrain’s involvement in the Yemen war.

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