Iran’s Defence Minister says the deployment of U.S. F-22 fighter jets in the United Arab Emirates is a “harmful step.”
Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi told Al-Alam, Iran’s Arabic news network, that the existence of U.S. F-22 fighter jets in the UAE is “disrupting the region’s security.”
Two days ago, the U.S. announced that it was deploying F-22s to Southwest Asia. Phil Ventura, a U.S. military spokesman, said: “Such deployments strengthen military-to-military relationships, promote sovereign and regional security, improve combined tactical air operations and enhance interoperability of forces, equipment and procedures.”
The deployment of the most sophisticated fighter jets in the UAE comes at a time of tension between world powers and Iran over its nuclear program.
It also follows weeks of tension between the UAE and Iran over the three Iranian islands in the Persian Gulf.
The fighter jets are now stationed at the Al Dafra Base in the UAE, about 300 kilometres from Iranian borders.
“Such presence in the region is counterproductive and harmful,” Iran’s Defence Minister said. “It creates a sense of insecurity in the region, and we feel it is not productive.”
He added that regional security can only be maintained through negotiations among the regional countries.
AFP reports the U.S. has denied that the deployment is a show of force to Iran, instead calling it a ‘”very normal deployment” in keeping with an adjustment of U.S. forces in the region following the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq.
Heshmatollah Fallahpisheh, a member of the Iranian Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, told reporters that Arab countries are concerned about the outcome of talks between Iran and the G5+1.