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Iran lashes out at U.S. arms sales package for Arab nations
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07:45, August 01, 2007

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Iran on Tuesday lashed out at a U.S. multi-billion-dollar military sales package for Arab nations as U. S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice met Arab leaders in Egypt to reaffirm Washington's commitment to regional security.

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said in a statement that the U.S. plan to "sell billions of dollars worth of arms and prepare illusive scenarios in the region" is an instance of adventurism, the official IRNA news agency reported.

"The United States knows quite well that the Middle East has suffered a lot from Washington's one-sided and unfair support for the Zionist regime and for its war mongering and expansionist policies," Mottaki said.

He pointed out that Washington has ulterior motives for the arms trade, which are to save the U.S. arms manufacturing companies from bankruptcy," adding "White House rulers" want to use their influence at the end of their tenure to garner benefits for arms companies.

Washington announced on Monday that it planned to strike a series of arms deals, estimated at 20 billion U.S. dollars, to Saudi Arabia and five other oil-rich Gulf states as well as new 10- year military aid packages to Israel and Egypt.

Specific figures of arms sale for Saudi Arabia and Gulf nations like Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, will be determined in the coming weeks, according to U.S. Under Secretary of State Nicholas Burns.

Ahead of her four-day tour of the Middle East, Rice said on Monday that the proposed U.S. package "will help bolster forces of moderation and support a broader strategy to counter the negative influences of al-Qaida, Hezbollah, Syria and Iran."

"We are helping to strengthen the defensive capabilities of our partners, and we plan to initiate discussions with Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf States on a proposed package of military technologies that will help support their ability to secure peace and stability in the Gulf region," she said in a statement.

The Iranian foreign minister's remarks came after Rice and U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates met in Egypt on Tuesday with foreign ministers from Egypt, Jordan and the Gulf Cooperation Council states at the start of a regional tour aimed at countering Iran's influence.

During her visit to Egypt, Rice defended the military sales plan, saying that the United States wants to guarantee the security of their long-time allies in the Middle East.

"We are determined to maintain the balances -- military and strategic balances -- within the region that we have been committed to as well," she said.

Besides the arms deal, the United States would give Israel a total of 30 billion dollars in military assistance, up from about 24 billion dollars over the next decade, and Egypt 13 billion dollars.

Iran on Monday immediately condemned the U.S. plans, saying the move was aimed at spreading fear and worries among countries in the Middle East, according to Iran's state media.

"The region needs peace, stability and security, the United States has always had special policy of spreading fear in the region and tarnishing existing good relations" among countries in this region, Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini said at his weekly press conference.

The united States accuses Iran of trying to develop atomic weapons under a civilian cover and supporting Iraqi insurgents. Iran denies both allegations.

Source: Xinhua



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