Sale of arms by US turning Middle East into ‘powder keg’, says Iran’s Foreign Minister

Tehran: Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Saturday chided the United States over its “unbelievable” sale of weapons to the Middle East, saying that it is turning the region into a “powder keg”.

According to Iranian state media, Zarif said: “The amount of weapons the US sells to our region is unbelievable and beyond the needs of the region.”

Lashing out at the US government, Zarif asserted that the arms being brought to the Middle East would undermine peace and security in the region, Anadolu News Agency reported.

“The US policy has brought many modern destructive weapons to the region, which have been no help in establishing regional peace and security,” he added.

Responding to allegations by Washington that Tehran is testing missiles capable of reaching Europe, Zarif said the US was leaving no stone unturned to disturb relations between Iran and European countries.

Last week, US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo had condemned Iran’s testing of a medium-range ballistic missile capable of carrying multiple warheads as a violation of the international agreement on Tehran’s nuclear programme.

In response, the Iranian Foreign Minister claimed that in American media reports, US arms are in possession with the al-Qaeda and the Islamic State terror groups in Yemen and Syria, which is a “danger threatening the region”.

Zarif’s comments come in the backdrop of sanctions imposed against Iran by the US, citing the latter’s support to state-sponsored terrorism and conflicts.

On November 5, the Donald Trump administration had imposed the “toughest-ever” sanctions on Iran’s banking, energy and shipping industries, with an aim to alter the “behaviour” of the country’s regime.