Tehran- Iran’s foreign minister says his American counterpart, Mike Pompeo, is trying to “flood our region” with all kinds of US weapons even when his country’s own laws prohibit such a measure.
Mohammad Javad Zarif’s comments came in a Monday tweet after Pompeo said earlier the same day and following his meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem al-Quds that the US will find a way to balance helping its military ally, the United Arab Emirates, without weakening Israel’s qualitative military edge (QME).
Pompeo’s remarks came amid controversy over whether the US will sell F-35 stealth jets to Abu Dhabi, after the Emirati officials unveiled their plan to totally normalize their country’s relations with Israel.
“The US has legal requirements with respect to the QME, and we will respect that,” Pompeo said, adding, “We have a 20-plus year security relationship with the UAE as well.”
In response to the US secretary of state’s comments, Zarif said, “Outlaw @SecPompeo has no qualms about violating his own country’s laws” while alluding to Pompeo’s meeting with the Israeli prime minister by adding, “Standing next to World’s #1 nuclear threat, he declares his desire to flood our region with even more US weapons.”
Iran’s top diplomat further noted that the US officials’ plan to flood the West Asia region with American weapons comes despite the fact that the administration of US President Donald Trump is, at the same time, “trying to impede lawful normalization of Iran’s defense cooperation with the world.”
To shed more light on the US administration’s plan to sell more weapons to the West Asian countries, Zarif mentioned a July 24 article by the New York Times in which the prestigious American daily had revealed the Trump administration’s plan to sell “large armed drones” to Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
The New York Times noted that the Trump administration’s decision has been opposed internally by arms control officials and lawmakers trying to limit the proliferation of such drones, especially in countries like Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
The article also stated that the US administration was trying to “bypass part of an international weapons export control agreement that the United States helped forge more than three decades ago.”
Earlier this month, the US secretary of state defended Washington’s arms sales to Saudi Arabia after a watchdog report said the State Department failed to “fully assess” the risk of civilian deaths in war-torn Yemen.
Pompeo said that his department “did everything by the book” in regards to arms sales to Riyadh in May 2019.
“I am proud of the work that my team did. We got a really good outcome. We prevented the loss of lives,” he claimed.
Last year, both US Republicans and Democrats opposed the sales, but Trump vetoed resolutions in July 2019 to block the transfers and there were not enough votes to override him.
Trump vetoed three congressional resolutions barring billions of dollars in weapons sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, which have been committing war crimes in Yemen for over four years.
In veto messages to Congress released by the White House, Trump argued that the bills would “weaken America’s global competitiveness and damage the important relationships we share with our allies and partners.”
Back in May, the Trump administration invoked an emergency provision of the law governing arms sales to push for the sale of $8.1 billion worth of munitions in 22 pending transfers to Saudi Arabia and the UAE and Jordan without the typical 30-day congressional review period.
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