Eyeing Iran, US plans munitions sale to UAE


The United States has plans to provide thousands of advanced “bunker-busting” bombs to the United Arab Emirates as part of efforts to contain Iran, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday.
The advanced munitions are designed to demolish bunkers, tunnels and other thickly reinforced targets, making them well-suited for a potential strike on Iran’s underground nuclear facilities, according to the newspaper.
The proposed package to the UAE – said to include up to 4,900 joint direct attack munitions, or JDAMs, and other weapons – is to be formally presented to Congress “in the coming days,” the Journal said.
In recent years, President Barack Obama’s administration has moved to shore up Arab Gulf countries with major arms deals, part of a policy of strengthening regional allies to ramp up pressure on Tehran.
The long-running dispute over Iran’s nuclear program flared this week when the International Atomic Energy Agency said it had “credible” evidence that Iran was trying to build nuclear warheads for its medium-range missiles.
Iran has always denied it is seeking atomic weapons, insisting that its nuclear program is entirely peaceful.
The United States and Israel have in turn warned that all options are on the table for dealing with the issue, including military action.
US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on Thursday warned of the risks from any military strike on Iran, saying it could have a “serious impact” on the region. The former CIA director added that a military strike on suspected Iranian nuclear sites would only delay Tehran’s nuclear program for about three years.
The United Nations has slapped four rounds of sanctions on Iran since 2006 and the United States and European Union have imposed their own restrictions.
Israel has meanwhile signaled it may stage air strikes against Iran’s nuclear sites, while Tehran has threatened to hit back against any attack or even the threat of military action.