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Monday, July 11, 2011     INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING

Iran warns Saudis on arms deals with West, 'closeness with Zionist regime'

NICOSIA — For the first time in years, Iran has warned Saudi Arabia of weapons deals with the West.


Officials have asserted that Saudi Arabia's multi-billion-dollar arms procurement program would destabilize the Gulf. They said the Teheran regime was concerned that the flow of U.S. weapons to Saudi Arabia marked a policy to confront Iran.

"Saudi Arabia's closeness to the Zionist regime is a new trap set by the West for the Saudis and this will severely undermine their status in the region," Iran's official news agency, Irna, said.

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Irna quoted a key Iranian parliamentarian as saying that Saudi arms procurement from the West would harm the Gulf Cooperation Council kingdom. The Iranian parliamentarian, Heshmatollah Falahat-Pisheh, cited Riyad's plan to purchase 200 Leopard-2A7+ main battle tanks from Germany.

"The Arab country's measure will make the Saudis dissatisfied with the government in the future," Falahat-Pisheh said.

Iran has also criticized Saudi plans to purchase up to $90 billion in aircraft, missiles and naval vessels from the United States. Falahat-Pisheh asserted that the United States and its Western allies were trying to use Saudi Arabia as a replacement to Egypt in wake of the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak in February.

Over the last two months, Iran has escalated criticism of the Saudi leadership. Teheran has cited the Saudi military deployment in neighboring Bahrain in an effort to quell a Shi'ite revolt as well as new U.S. arms deals with Riyad.

Iran has warned that Saudi Arabia's defense policy would be opposed by the people in the kingdom. Saudi Arabia contains a Shi'ite community of about 10 percent of the overall population.

"Supporters of Saudi Arabia have also expressed their dissatisfaction with the status quo," Falahat-Pisheh, a member of parliament's Defense Committee, said.

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