US criticizes Iran’s participation in a defense exhibition in Qatar

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Qatar QatarA defense show in Qatar has turned heads with participation from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. The IRGC has created a stir by displaying missile models and other weapons at the show which was also participated by the United States’ companies displaying their fighter jets.

The commanders of IRGC stood at their booth holding meetings, while others were seen casually strolling the floor. During the show delegates from Iran were seen handling Turkish missile guns, took photo records of an armored personnel carrier at Italy’s booth and passed entourage surrounding US Navy’s Fifth Fleet’s commander.

The frank display of weapons at the defense show by the group that has been listed by US as a terrorist organization has clearly upset the White House. “We reject the presence of Iran at a maritime defense exhibition, considering that it’s Iran that single-handedly is threatening maritime stability throughout the Gulf region,” US State Department spokesman Ned Price said.

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Qatar quickly tried to pacify situation defending its position by assuring that IRGC had not been officially invited for the three day event in Doha, DIMDEX exhibition. “The participation in the event and pavilion was by the Iranian Ministry of Defense and there were no invitations sent to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard,” a spokesman said.

The DIMDEX exhibition in Doha was hosted to draw in international defense companies to bolster their sales to Gulf states at a time when they are working on expanding their military capabilities. Interestingly, Iran’s booth cannot be located on the conference map, making its presence at the show a seemingly deliberate attempt by Qatar to hide and promote dealings with the Iranian military manufacturers.

Qatar is a close non-NATO ally of the United States and hosts regional headquarters of the Pentagon’s Central Command at the al-Udeid Air Base, and also permits regular shore visits by US naval vessels which are patrolling the Gulf region. US is actively negotiating with Iran to revive the 2015 nuclear deal. United States holds strong sanctions on businesses with Iranian military, specifically IRGC that is listed as an international terror organization. Clearing America’s non-negotiable stand on Iran, Price said, “Transactions related to Iranian weapons are generally sanctionable under multiple US authorities, including sanctions related to terrorism and weapons of mass destruction.”

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