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Eyeing Iran, Gulf states seek $10.8 billion in US weapons

Saudi Arabia and UAE say they are looking to purchase American equipment to ward off Iranian threat

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia (photo credit: AP/Hassan Ammar/File)
King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia (photo credit: AP/Hassan Ammar/File)

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are seeking $10.8 billion in advanced US-made missiles and other weapons as part of bids by Western-allied Gulf states to stay ahead of claimed military strides by rival Iran, according to notices posted this week.

Gulf nations regularly spend billions of dollars on US military equipment and upgrades amid lingering regional tensions with Iran, which often conducts major military exercises and claims to have made advances in drone technology and other areas.

Notifications posted late Tuesday on a Pentagon website said Saudi Arabia was seeking to purchase $6.8 billion in missiles, bombs, launch systems and other ordnance. The UAE is seeking approval for a similar order estimated at $4 billion.

The move comes despite the fact that Iran recently reached out to Saudi Arabia as part of new President Hassan Rouhani’s drive toward detente with the West.

Speaking at a gathering of Hajj officials in Tehran in September, Rouhani dismissed the long-time discord between the two countries as “trivial tensions” and spoke of their many common interests and the need to boost their financial connection.

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