DUBAI (REUTERS) - Iran accused the United States on Monday (May 22) of selling arms to "dangerous terrorists" in the Middle East and of spreading "Iranophobia" to encourage Arab states to purchase arms, state TV reported.
"Once again, by his repetitive and baseless claims about Iran, the American President... tried to encourage the countries of the region to purchase more arms by spreading Iranophobia," Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi said, a day after US President Donald Trump ended a visit to Teheran's arch-foe Saudi Arabia, where arms deals worth almost US$110 billion (S$152.58 billion) were signed.
Sending a tough message to Teheran shortly after pragmatist Hassan Rouhani was re-elected president, Mr Trump had urged Arab and Islamic leaders to unite to defeat Islamist militants, and said Iran had for decades "fuelled the fires of sectarian conflict and terrors".
Mr Qassemi said Washington was "reinvigorating terrorists in the region by its hostile policies" and "should stop selling arms to dangerous terrorists".
He said the US and its allies "should know that Iran is a democratic, stable and powerful country" and that it promoted "peace, good neighbourliness, and the creation of a world opposed to violence and extremism".
A day earlier, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif linked the harsh tone of Trump's speech to the trade deals the US struck during his visit to the kingdom, including large weapons sales.
"Iran - fresh from real elections - attacked by @POTUS in that bastion of democracy and moderation," Mr Zarif said on Twitter, referring to Saudi Arabia.