TEHRAN (Press Shia) – The US has decided to trigger proxy wars in the Middle East and provoke Saudis into launching military offensive instead of conducting direct campaigns in the region, Iran’s former ambassador to Iraq said.

In an interview with the Press Shia News Agency, Hassan Kazemi Qomi described Saudi Arabia’s military war games in the Persian Gulf as part of US plot for the region.

“Direct military presence in the region is not possible for the Americans at present, so they have given Saudis the role of a proxy,” he explained.

The diplomat also stressed the need for Iran’s defensive preparedness in the face of Saudi moves that are orchestrated by the US.

Saudi Arabia’s policy toward Iran has changed from a rivalry into strategic enmity, Kazemi Qomi added, saying he could not rule out the possibility of a Saudi mistake to come into aerial or naval conflict with Iran under US influence.

Earlier this month, the Saudi military held war games in the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman.

The kingdom has been involved in a military campaign against Yemen for 18 months.

Since March 2015, Riyadh and some of its Arab allies have been launching deadly airstrikes against the Houthi Ansarullah movement in an attempt to restore power to the fugitive former President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, a close ally of Riyadh.

According to UN estimates, over 10,000 Yemenis, including 4,000 women and children, have lost their lives in the military campaign.