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Publish Date : 16 March 2018 - 15:57  ,  
News ID: 3420
TEHRAN(Times): Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has slammed the United States for taking advantage of the conflicts in the Middle East and flooding the troubled region with arms, most of which, he says, end up in the hands of war criminals.

Zarif was reacting in a tweet on Wednesday to a recent report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), which revealed the US has increased its arms sales by 25-percent over the past five years.

According to the reports, some half of US arms exports during that period have gone to the Middle East, and that Saudi Arabia consolidating its place as the world’s second biggest importer amid its deadly Washington-backed war on Yemen.

"The US pumps over half of its arms exports into our region. The vast majority goes to inexperienced and adventurist leaders who are engaged in war crimes,” Zarif said on his Twitter page, where the top Iranian diplomat also posted a diagram released by SIPRI depicting arms exports by Middle Eastern states, including Saudi Arabia and Iran.

"Yet Iran is alleged to be the source of instability. Funny how facts are the greatest enemy of both demagoguery and populism,” he added.

According to the SIPRI report, which was released last week, Saudi Arabia increased its arms purchases by 225% over the past five years, importing 98% of its weapons from the US and EU countries.

Riyadh’s arms purchase included 78 combat aircraft, 72 combat helicopters, 328 tanks and 4,000 vehicles, the report noted.

While the Middle East is home to five percent of the world's population, the region accounts for 32% of global arms imports, the report said.

Zarif’s criticism of US arms supply to Middle Eastern countries comes the Saudi-led coalition of states continues its deadly war against Yemen with Washington’s staunch support.

Some 13,600 people have been killed since the war three years ago.

The destructive war is being led by Saudi Crown Prince and Defense Minister Mohammed bin Salman.

Human Rights Watch has called for UN sanctions against the young crown prince for leading the bloody campaign against Yemen and a crippling siege against the Arabian Peninsula’s poorest country.

During his first trip to Saudi Arabia last year, President Donald Trump signed a $110 billion arms deal with the Saudis, with options to sell up to $350 billion over a decade.

At the meeting of Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday, US Army General Joseph Votel admitted that the US Central Command does not track how the Riyadh military uses Washington-supplied planes and munitions.


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