Iran Blasts Pompeo for Trying to 'Flood Region With US Weapons' Amid Talk of More Arms for UAE

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has taken to Twitter to attack Mike Pompeo over his remarks during his trip to Israel, calling him an “outlaw” official who “has no qualms about violating his own country’s laws”.

“Standing next to World’s #1 nuclear threat, he declares his desire to flood our region with even more US weapons – all while trying to impede the lawful normalisation of Iran’s defence cooperation with the world,” Zarif wrote, referring to the US review of plans to sell advanced weapons to Abu Dhabi, and its opposition to the United Nations arms embargo against Iran.

To drive his point home, Zarif posted screengrabs of an article on the Trump administration’s sale of drone systems to Saudi Arabia and the UAE despite internal opposition, and Pompeo’s promise to Israel about an American commitment to preserving Tel Aviv’s ‘qualitative advantage’ in weapons.

During his meeting with Pompeo on Monday, Netanyahu said he had been assured that the US would continue to work to preserve Israel’s military advantage in relation to its neighbours. His comments came amid reports of strong opposition by Tel Aviv to the sale of F-35 fighter jets and other advanced weapons to Abu Dhabi and other Arab countries, even those making peace with Israel. Last week, US President confirmed that the UAE was interested in buying F-35s, and that the matter was “under review”.

Israel is the largest recipient of US military aid, and has been provided over $3 billion in military assistance each year since 1985. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, the country was the twelfth-largest buyer of US military equipment between 2008 and 2018, spending $2.91 billion on US arms. During the same period, the UAE purchased some $7.6 billion in US weapons, while Saudi Arabia bought over $13.7 billion worth of American arms.

Speaking in Tehran on Monday, Zarif also took aim at Abu Dhabi over its planned peace deal with Israel, warning the country that it could not “buy” its security.

“The United Arab Emirates has turned to Israel to buy security, while Israel is unable to keep even itself secure,” he said. “You cannot be secure if your neighbours are not secure.”

According to Zarif, countries which neighbour one another have no other option but to get along. “No one can be crossed out from the region, but foreign powers can be expelled,” he said.

Iranian authorities slammed the Israel-US normalisation deal after it was announced last week. President called it a “huge mistake” and a “treasonous act” against the Palestinians, while Iran’s military warned that the agreement would force the Islamic Republic to change its posture toward Abu Dhabi.

On Tuesday, Axios reported that UAE authorities had cancelled a planned trilateral meeting with officials from the US and Israel in protest over Netanyahu’s firm opposition to the sale of F-35s to Abu Dhabi.

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