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US arms deal with UAE, Israel, Saudi Arabia, sends signal to Iran

The deal was part of a three-way $10 million weapons sale to the UAE, Israel and Saudi Arabia.

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US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel (L) talks with US Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Jim Smith as he departs King Khaled International Airport on April 24, 2013 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Whilst in Riyadh, Hagel finalised a major arms deal to provide the Saudi kingdom with sophisticated missiles for its US manufactured fighter jets. (Pool/AFP/Getty Images)

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel met with leaders in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Thursday to seal an arms deal that aims at curbing Iranian influence in the region.

The deal was part of a three-way $10 million weapons sale to the UAE, Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Hagel said that the sale was "a very clear signal" to Iran.

The defense chief is wrapping up a six country tour of the Middle East, meeting with Americans allies while building support against Iran's nuclear weapons program.

Hagel also discussed the Syrian civil war with other leaders.

New evidence that Syria has used chemical weapons against rebels has added urgency to resolving the violent turmoil in that country.

Under the new arms deal the US would sell Israel a tilt-rotor V-22 Osprey aircraft, which takes off like a regular helicopter but flies at the speed of an airplane.

The deal would be the first time the US sold an Osprey to a foreign country.

Israel would also receive refueling planes, extending the range of their fighter jets, as well as advanced missile technology.

The UAE would buy two dozen F-16 fighter jets for about $5 billion, which includes training and spare parts.

In a press conference, Hagel played down criticism that he was not supportive enough of Israel, particularly in the face of a nuclear Iran.

He did say that the US and Israel differ on how close Iran is to acquiring a nuclear weapon.

“When you back down into the specifics of the timing of when and if Iran decides to pursue a nuclear weapon, there may well be some differences,” Hagel said.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/130425/us-arms-deal-uae-israel-saudi-arabia-sends-signal-iran