08/04/2015, 00.00
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US "accelerates" arms sales to Gulf monarchies, after "landmark deal" with Iran

Secretary of State, John Kerry, defends the agreement, but also promises new weapons, more joint military exercises, a regional ballistic missile. The Gulf monarchies among the largest customers in the arms trade. Rouhani and Javad Sharif propose talks between the Islamic nations to resolve armed conflicts in Yemen and Syria.

Doha (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The US Secretary of State, John Kerry yesterday promised to "accelerate" the sale of special weapons to the Gulf monarchies, concerned follwoing Iran's increasing poer following the recent nuclear deal. 

Kerry was in Doha to attend a special meeting with the foreign ministers Gulf Cooperation Council member nations (Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar). On the one hand Kerry reassured them of the benefits of the July 14 agreement with Iran while on the other he promised new arms sales, an increase in joint military exercises, and the study of a regional ballistic missile defense system.

According to the Secretary of State, the agreement with Iran strengthens the security of the Arab countries. At the same time, the tension that has been spreading in the region, since the days of the Arab spring, has boosted the trade in arms. 

In 2014 Saudi Arabia invested most (in percentage) in defense, about 17% of its annual budget (80.8 billion dollars). This trend among Gulf monarchies has been ongoing for years and the United States is the main supplier of increasingly sophisticated instruments of death.Meanwhile, Iran is also trying to put a positive spin on the agreement. In a televised speech two days ago, President Hassan Rouhani said the nuclear deal creates "a new climate" to solve some regional armed conflicts such as those in Yemen and Syria.In Yemen, Saudi Arabia is leading a coalition of Arab countries against the minority rebel Houthi. 

In Syria, the Arab Gulf countries support the rebels fighting against Bashar Assad. Saudi Arabia is even suspected of having supported the Islamic State.Yesterday, the Iranian foreign minister, Javad Zarif, the architect of the agreement on nuclear power, supported the move for regional talks.  Writing in the Lebanese newspaper As-Safir, he said that regional cooperation could start from Yemen and proposed involvement of all Islamic countries in negotiations to end the war in Syria, under the aegis of the UN.

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