US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis stressed on Tuesday that Washington will hold Iran accountable for its actions in the Middle East.

Commenting on the situation in Yemen, he said during a press conference Washington supports Saudi Arabia as it defends itself in Yemen.

“Our conduct there is to try to keep the human cost of innocents being killed to the absolute minimum. That is our goal where we engage with the (Saudi-led Arab) coalition,” Mattis said.

“Our goal is to reduce this tragedy and to get it to the UN- brokered table as quickly as possible.”

On Syria, Mattis said the US had recently discussed the use of chemical weapons in there with Russia, after media reports that Syria was moving chemical weapons into the opposition-held Idlib province that the regime was seeking to capture.

“You have seen our administration act twice on the use of chemical weapons,” Mattis told reporters. “I will assure you that (the) Department of State has been in active communication, recent active communication, with Russia to enlist them in preventing this … The communication is going on.”

He stressed that the Washington seeks for the Syrian people to choose a government that is not led by regime head Bashar Assad.

Meanwhile, US permanent ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said that Iran must stop arming the Houthis militias in Yemen and seek a political solution to the country’s conflict.

Iran stands behind the use of innocents as human shields in Yemen and Lebanon, she declared.

She also addressed Syria, saying Assad and regime ally, Russia, should shoulder the responsibility of reconstructing the country.

Source » aawsat