On Thursday, Votel told the Senate Armed Committee that Iran seeks to be the regional dominance, pointing to its activity in Iraq and Syria. He  added that to achieve this goal, Tehran plays a pivotal role in supporting the Syrian regime and exploiting the Shiite-dominated areas.

“In my view, Iran poses the greatest long-term threat to the stability of this part of the world,” Votel testified, and further stated that the US is dealing with a range of “malign activities perpetrated by Iran and its proxies in the Middle East,” according to an article in Al Arabiya. 

According to Voice of America (VOA), the CENTCOM commander said Iran seeks to be the “regional hegemony” and is using destabilizing behavior to achieve its goals. He said, “We hold Iran accountable for maritime harassment. Nobody does that.”  This statement was in reference to Tehran’s pattern of harassing US Navy ships in the Arabian Gulf.

US President Donald Trump has accused the previous administration of having a “soft stance” towards Iran’s role in the region, specifically in Syria and Yemen.