Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, head of US Central Command. (AP)

March 18, 2022

The commander of the US Central Command, General Kenneth McKenzie, has said that Iran remains the greatest threat to the security of the Central Region.

Speaking at a hearing held by the Senate Armed Services Committee, McKenzie explained that the greatest single day-to-day threat to regional security and stability remains Iran, which

challenges the United States and its allies by pursuing regional hegemony and breaching its Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) commitments.

McKenzie accused Iran of posing a conventional threat to partner nations while facilitating and conducting coercive and malign activities.

“Over the past year, Iran used these weapons to attack and seize merchant vessels in the Strait of Hormuz, Gulf of Oman, and northern Arabian Sea,” said McKenzie.

“Iran continues to violate sanctions and embargos, proliferate weapons to its network of proxies and affiliates, terrorize mariners, and seize shipping in international waters,” he added.

Regarding Iran’s activities in Yemen, the commander said Houthis are the least restrained and most destabilizing Iranian affiliates in the region.

He said Houthis have raised the stakes further by using the same high-end Iranian weapons to target US partners.

“Over the past year, Iran has continued to provide Houthi forces with advanced conventional weapons (UASs, theater ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, and unmanned surface vehicles) and related technology. The proliferation of small and medium-sized UASs and sophisticated ballistic and cruise missiles to the Houthis presents the most complex and consequential threat to US, partner, and allied forces.”

Speaking at the same hearing, Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Sasha Baker also affirmed that Iran continues to play a destabilizing role in the region through its development and proliferation of short and medium range ballistic missiles and unmanned aerial systems.

She stressed that the Department of Defense fully supports both the UAE and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the defense of their territory and people.

Baker said Saudi Arabia remains a central pillar of our regional counterterrorism efforts.

“The Saudis are an important partner for cooperation in promoting regional stability, security, and countering Iranian influence,” she noted.

Asharq Al-Awsat

About Track Persia

Track Persia is a Platform run by dedicated analysts who spend much of their time researching the Middle East, in due process we fall upon many indications of growing expansionary ambitions on the part of Iran in the MENA region and the wider Islamic world. These ambitions commonly increase tensions and undermine stability.