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US fumes at Iran's Revolutionary Guard 'drink tea and nibble dates'

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The U.S. expressed its outrage on Thursday after was allowed to run a stand hawking missile systems and naval vessels at an arms fair in Qatar, where commanders of its elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps were spotted drinking tea and nibbling dates.

The I.R.G.C.
is listed as a terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department.

Yet officers rubbed shoulders with defense officials from other nations, including the entourage of the commander of the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet.

And the event was held in Doha, Qatar, the Gulf Arab State that is home to the biggest U.S.

military base in the region.

‘We are deeply disappointed and troubled by the presence of Iranian military officials and reportedly Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps officers at the Doha Defense Show in Qatar,’ said State Department spokesman Ned Price.

‘We utterly reject their presence at the show and its maritime defense exhibit, as it is Iran that is biggest threat to maritime stability in the Gulf region. 

‘Transactions related to Iranian weapons are generally sanctionable under multiple U.S.

authorities, including sanctions related to terrorism and weapons of mass destruction.’  

Iran showed off its air defense systems and other weapons at the Doha International Maritime Defense Exhibition and Conference. Among its delegation were members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which is designated a terrorist organisation by the U.S.

Iran showed off its air defense systems and other weapons at the Doha International Maritime Defense Exhibition and Conference.

Among its delegation were members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which is designated a terrorist organisation by the U.S. 

Models of Iranian missiles are seen at a stand at the DIMDEX exhibition in Doha, Qatar, Wednesday, March 23, 2022. Iran, under sweeping economic sanctions, was hawking weapons on Wednesday at a Qatari defense exhibit, a surprising sight at the major conference also showcasing American companies and fighter jets.

Models of Iranian missiles are seen at a stand at the DIMDEX exhibition in Doha, Qatar, Wednesday, March 23, 2022.

Iran, under sweeping economic sanctions, was hawking weapons on Wednesday at a Qatari defense exhibit, a surprising sight at the major conference also showcasing American companies and fighter jets.

Iran also exhibited models of its military vessels on its IRGC booth

Iran also exhibited models of its military vessels on its IRGC booth

Their presence was particularly striking when other Sunni Muslim Gulf states and Israel have expressed alarm at the prospect of the United States removing its terrorist designation of the IRGC as part of efforts to revive a nuclear pact with Iran.

The Iran booth was organised by Iran’s Ministry of Defence and the commanders were part of a broader Iranian delegation.

A Qatari official said in a statement that no invitation had been sent to the IRGC.

‘The participation in the event and pavilion was by the Iranian Ministry of Defence and there were no invitations sent to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard,’ it said. 

The IRGC, which answers directly to Iran’s supreme leader, has expanded in the region via Shia Muslim proxies including in Yemen, where the Houthi movement last weekend launched a barrage of strikes on Saudi oil facilities.

Riyadh accuses Iran of arming the Houthis and has blamed Tehran for a 2019 assault on Saudi Arabia’s energy heartland and tanker attacks in Gulf waters. 

Iran denies the charges.

Qatari armed forces chief of staff, Maj. Gen. Salem al-Nabet, left, visits Iran's pavilion during the exhibition

Qatari armed forces chief of staff, Maj.

Gen. Salem al-Nabet, left, visits Iran’s pavilion during the exhibition

Iran's arsenal was on display this month when missiles slammed into a U.S. Army base and a Kurdish news channel office in Erbil, Northern Iraq in retaliation for an Israeli attack

Iran’s arsenal was on display this month when missiles slammed into a U.S.

Army base and a Kurdish news channel office in Erbil, Northern Iraq in retaliation for an Israeli attack

Washington is considering removing the group from a terrorist organisation blacklist in return for Iranian assurances about reining in the elite force, which controls a business empire. 

Sources say this is among the last issues in indirect talks to revive the 2015 nuclear pact.

At the same time as officers were in Doha, the group’s commander Maj.

Gen. Hossein Salami issued a chilling warning to the United States and Israel telling them they have an ‘expiration date’ and could face missile threats. 

In an angry speech to troops in Dezful, southwestern Iran he said Israel will have to ‘endure the bitter taste of missiles if it is not careful,’ according to the  Post.

Senior U.S.

military commanders continue to warn that Iran remains the biggest threat to the region. 

‘Iran’s ballistic missile threat has continued to advance and expand with greater ranges and accuracy,’ said Gen. Frank McKenzie, the outgoing head of Central Command, last week. 

The threat to American interests, were on display last weekend when its rockets smashed into a U.S.
Army base and a Kurdish news channel office in Erbil, Northern Iraq. 

And the Iranian display in Doha featured models of rockets.

IRGC officers at the show declined to speak to Reuters reporters. While some huddled in meetings at the booth, which featured a giant poster of a fast boat filled with commandos, PTS TERBAIK ASEAN others explored the trade floor.

They snapped cellphone photos of an Italian armoured personnel carrier and handled Turkish machine guns.

In a booth adjacent to Iran’s, U.S.

firm General Atomics showcased its MQ-9B predator drone, which is engineered to conduct anti-surface warfare, including maritime surveillance and precision-guided munitions.

The U.S. State Department has authorised the company to sell 18 of the unmanned aircraft to the United Arab Emirates in a deal worth as much as $2.9 billion.

Qatar’s DIMDEX exhibition drew international defence firms hoping to boost sales to wealthy Gulf states that are moving to expand the military capabilities of the energy-producing region.

Qatar has good ties with Iran, with which it shares a giant gas field.

In contrast, Qatar’s neighbour Saudi Arabia is locked in several proxy conflicts with Tehran in a struggle for regional dominance.

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