Iran‘s Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammad Javad Zarif has warned against an arms race in the Middle East, saying recent US weapons sales have turned the Gulf region into a “tinderbox ready to blow up”.

In an exclusive interview with Al Jazeera on Monday, Zarif said more warships in the Gulf would only lead to more insecurity.

“The US [sold] $50bn worth of weapons to the region last year. Some of the countries in the region with less than a third of our population spend $87bn on military procurement. Let’s make a comparison, Iran spent last year $16bn on all its military with almost one million people in the army.

“The UAE with a total population of one million spent $22bn, Saudi Arabia spent $87bn.

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