Iranian Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi on Wednesday “advised” neighboring Arab states in the Gulf not to adopt a missile shield project being promoted by the United States.
“From the start we have rejected such a project, which is contrary to regional security, and we advise our friends to not take part in such a game,” Vahidi told reporters.
“The anti-missile shield in the Persian Gulf is an American-Zionist project and anybody who goes into that project will be playing the game of the Americans and Israel,” he said.
Vahidi is wanted by Interpol for his alleged participation in the bombing of the Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on July 18, 1994, in which 85 people died. He is one of five Iranians sought in the bombing.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton last Saturday promoted the missile shield idea at a Gulf-US security forum in Saudi Arabia.
US officials have said it is their “priority” to help the six Gulf Cooperation Council states build a “regional missile defense architecture” against what they see as a looming ballistic missile threat from Iran.
Clinton stressed Washington’s “unwavering” commitment to the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council – Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Oman.
Bahrain is the home of the US Fifth Fleet, while NATO plans to build a joint-operations headquarters in Kuwait City – enabling closer coordination between NATO and GCC forces in the region.
The Sunni monarchies of the GCC have directly accused Shiite Persian Iran of meddling in their internal affairs and stirring up unrest among their Shiite populations.
Tensions with Tehran have led them to move towards the creation of a diplomatic and military union, and to expand their ranks. Talks to integrate Jordan into the GCC commenced late last year