Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Saturday that the United States is selling weaponry to Middle Eastern countries beyond the region’s needs and turning the area into a “tinderbox,” Reuters reported, citing state news agency IRNA.
“The level of arms sales by the Americans is unbelievable and much beyond regional needs, and this points to the very dangerous policies followed by the Americans,” Zarif said.
The US has sizable arms deals with Iranian foes Israel and Saudi Arabia, as well as other countries in the region.
Israel has long accused Iran, which frequently urges the demise of Israel, of funneling weapons to Lebanon’s Hezbollah, and has carried out several air strikes across its northern border in recent years to prevent shipments of weapons from Syria to Hezbollah.
The Israel Defense Forces on Tuesday launched an operation to destroy a number of cross-border attack tunnels that it says were dug by the Iran-backed Hezbollah into northern Israel from Lebanon.
Attack tunnels were long rumored to have been dug from southern Lebanon into Israeli territory by the terror group, but in recent years Israeli defense officials repeatedly either denied their existence or refused to discuss the matter.
The IDF spokesperson accused Iran of providing the funding and support for Hezbollah’s tunnel program.
“We’ll be dealing with that in the next few days too,” the army said.
Israel fought a punishing war with Hezbollah in 2006, which has since given way to relative quiet along the frontier. However, Israeli officials have raised alarms over Iran arming Hezbollah, via Syria or directly into Lebanon, with precision missile technology.
Iran was accused of test-firing a medium-range, nuclear-capable missile last Saturday, which the US said was a violation of a UN resolution that endorsed the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, from which Washington has withdrawn.
That resolution calls on Iran to refrain from testing missiles capable of carrying a nuclear weapon.
On Tuesday, Tehran’s air force chief insisted his country would continue to increase the range of its missiles.
Iran has long maintained that its missile program is defensive in nature and not aimed at ensuring the delivery of a nuclear weapon, a stance upheld by Russia at the Security Council. Western powers disagree.
Agencies contributed to this report.