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FM Zarif: US turned Middle East into ‘powder keg’


Iran has strongly criticized US policy of pouring weapons into the Middle East far beyond its real defense needs, warning that this has turned the region into a “powder keg”. 

“The Americans have turned the region into a powder keg. The amount of weaponry, which is sold on the part of the US is unbelievable and quite a lot in excess of what the region needs,” Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Saturday.

“This indicates the very dangerous policy that the Americans pursue in our region,” he added on the sidelines of a counter-terrorism inter-parliamentary summit in Tehran attended by senior lawmakers from Iran, China, Russia, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Turkey.

Zarif cited a recent report noting that weapons supplied by the US and Britain had “fallen into” the hands of splinter groups in Yemen, “some with links to al-Qaeda and Daesh,” asserting that the oversupply of the arms had not contributed to peace and security in the region in any manner.

He was answering a question about recent accusations against Iran’s missile program by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who claimed that the Islamic Republic had tested a missile “capable of carrying nuclear warheads.”

Washington, Zarif said, was trying to portray the realities of the region “upside down,” resort to “meaningless” accusations, and trouble Tehran’s relations with Europe.

He said the Americans have become isolated in the world, found a need to enter this fray, and even apprehended the chief financial officer of the Chinese telecoms giant Huawei to further their policies. Meng Wanzhou, daughter of Huawei’s founder, who was arrested in Vancouver on Saturday, faces “fraud charges” in the US and is accused of breaking American sanctions on Iran.

Zarif said, “This is more indicative of US’s desperation than its power.”

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