Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor delivers hard-hitting speech to the 27th annual Arab-US Policymakers Conference
Dubai tycoon Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor has delivered a hard-hitting message to urge global leaders to tackle the growing threat posed by Iran.
The founding chairman of the Dubai-based Al Habtoor Group addressed the 27th annual Arab-US Policymakers Conference held at Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Centre in Washington DC.
In his keynote speech, Al Habtoor called out world leaders to work in solidarity to isolate extremism propagated by Tehran’s Revolutionary Guards, Shi'ite militias and curb the global spread of terrorism.
He said: “The patience with which Iran is dealt with surprises me. Why are the United States and its Western allies so patient with Iran? Do they hope that Iran is the Prodigal Son who will one day return to the West’s arms and repent? That is a pipe dream. Iran’s defiance of the United States and the civilized world will never cease.”
Speaking on the economic sanctions issued by US President Donald Trump earlier this month, Al Habtoor added: “Sanctioning Iran has not changed its aggressive behaviour towards its neighbours. Just the opposite. Tehran is more vocal than ever in its support of terrorism and hostility of the West.”
Al Habtoor also voiced his concern about Hezbollah, saying: “Iran to me is fragile, Hezbollah is most powerful. If the Americans, the Israelis and the European are serious, they can dismantle the threat of Hezbollah and rescue the Lebanese. The Lebanese are prisoners in their country. Members of Hezbollah are forming the government in Lebanon, I cannot understand it. We should not accept this.”
The annual conference brings together many of the foremost American and Arab specialists from government, military business and academe to analyse, discuss and debate issues of over-arching importance.
Al Habtoor also expressed his concern over the reaction of the international community during the investigation of the disappearance of Jamal bin Ahmad Khashoggi.
“I am astonished that American lawmakers and media still call upon the United States to impose sanctions against Saudi Arabia willing to damage a trusted seven-decades-long relationship. This is madness,” said Al Habtoor.
He added: “I urge US leaders to respect the kingdom’s sovereignty. The law must take its course. America needs Saudi Arabia in the fight against terrorism. America needs Saudi Arabia to help contain Iran. America needs Saudi investments and purchases that create jobs. Let us focus on what is important.”