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US Seeks to Help Arab Partners to Expedite Missile Defense

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Obama’s administration reportedly has sought to ease its Arab partners’ objections to the latest nuclear deal with Iran by expediting ballistic missile defense in the region

US President Barack Obama’s administration has sought to ease its Arab partners’ objections to the latest nuclear deal with Iran by expediting ballistic missile defense in the region, local media reported Monday, citing officials.

As well as developing integrated regional ballistic missile defense capability among key allies, including Saudi Arabia, the Wall Street Journal cites a senior Obama administration official as saying it wants to accelerate arms transfers to its partners in the Middle East.

That way the White House wants to keep Iran’s regional rival Saudi Arabia from entering a nuclear arms race with Tehran.

Obama announced plans for an integrated ballistic missile defense architecture for the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states, in addition to further arms sales, in May.

Launch of YJ-18 missile

The United States, along with five major powers, reached a landmark deal with Iran last week, curtailing its nuclear development program by over a decade in exchange for sanctions relief.

The GCC and Israel suspect provisions in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) lifting a UN arms and ballistic missile technologies embargoes, in five and eight years respectively, will give Iran unfettered pursuit of these capabilities.

The newspaper argues that the Obama administration’s biggest challenges following the Iran deal is to counter regional backlash over the arms and missile technologies embargoes.

The Gulf Cooperation Council is a regional intergovernmental economic union consisting of the Arab states of the Persian Gulf. Its members are Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.