Iran warns against Gulf arms race
Addis Ababa, August 12, 2019 (FBC) – Iran’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammad Javad Zarif has warned against an arms race in the Middle East, saying recent US weapons sales have turned the Gulf region into a “tinderbox ready to blow up”.
In an exclusive interview with Al Jazeera in Qatar on Monday, Zarif said more warships in the Gulf would only lead to more insecurity.
“The US [sold] $50bn worth of weapons to the region last year. Some of the countries in the region with less than a third of our population spend $87bn on military procurement,” Zarif told Al Jazeera.
“Let’s make a comparison; Iran spent last year $16bn on all its military with almost one million people in the army. The UAE with a total population of one million spent $22bn, Saudi Arabia spent $87bn,” he continued.
Zarif’s comments come after the United States announced it is working to form a military coalition to protect commercial shipping in the Gulf following attacks on oil tankers near the Strait of Hormuz.