US calls for action to halt Iran’s growing network of proxy armies

This article is more than 12 months old

MUNICH United States National Security Adviser H. R. McMaster called on Saturday for more forceful action to halt Iran's development of what he said was an increasingly powerful network of proxy armies in Lebanon, Syria, Yemen and Iraq.

Mr McMaster accused Iran of escalating a campaign to increase its influence in the Middle East by building "Hezbollah-style" proxy armies in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere as it has done in Lebanon.

The goal is to weaken Arab governments and turn the proxy forces against those states if they pursued policies that ran counter to Teheran's interests, he said.

"So the time is now, we think, to act against Iran," he told the Munich Security Conference, calling on US allies to halt trade that was helping underwrite the expansion of Iran's Revolutionary Guards.

The US deems Lebanon's Hezbollah a terrorist organisation.

Iran has denied accusations that it meddles in the affairs of its Middle East neighbours and has dismissed suggestions that it stops supporting groups such as Hezbollah.

Mr McMaster also railed against the 2015 nuclear accord signed by Iran and six other countries, saying that investments made by German companies and others were helping fund Iran's missile programme and its other activities in the Middle East.

Echoing US President Donald Trump's view, he said it was time to address "serious flaws in the Iran deal and counter Iran's destabilising activities, including its development and proliferation of missiles". - REUTERS