- Iran has a new missile system.
- More Gulf nations are alarmed by its actions.
- More Arab states are seeking to normalize ties with Israel.
The Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has unveiled a new ballistic missile that has a range of approximately 700 kilometers. Dubbed Zolfaghar Basir, its range surpasses that of the nation’s other systems, which include the “Hormuz-2.” The “Hormuz-2” has a range of 300 kilometers.
Iran is developing its missile capabilities in order to protect itself from its adversaries in an increasingly hostile region. No testing of the missile has yet been reported, but there are images of the system already installed on a launch vehicle at the Tehran National Aerospace Park.
In addition to its growing military arsenal, the country is continuing to fund and support militia groups in the region, such as Hezbollah.
Gulf Nations Seek Security in Israeli Normalization Deals
More Gulf states are looking to protect themselves from the increasingly hostile Iran. On the other hand, Israel is happy about having more allies in the Middle East region. The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain have already agreed to normalize ties with Israel. Analysts believe that the deals are a way to deter attacks from Iran as well as its proxies.
The UAE currently seeks advanced weaponry in order to protect its interests in the region. It has already forwarded a proposal to the White House, seeking to acquire F-35 stealth fighter jets. The deal is, however, yet to be finalized.
Trump Lauds New Cooperation Agreements
While Iran is focusing on growing its military might, smaller Arab nations lack the resources and political will to rival Iran in this area. They now prefer forming an alliance with Israel, which has the capacity to counter Iran.
US President Donald Trump recently announced the normalization of ties agreement between Israel and the UAE in Washington, during the 9/11 anniversary. Dubbed the Abraham Accord, he declared it a landmark event in the fight against terrorism, and a crucial step towards fostering peace in the Middle East region.
The deal encompassed the sharing of intelligence information between the two nations, as well as cooperation in trade matters. The agreement with the UAE angered the Iranian leadership.
Just a day after the initial announcement of the signing, Iran’s foreign ministry issued a bellicose statement. It described the treaty as ‘strategic idiocy’ and said that it was a stab in the back and a betrayal of the Palestinian people. The IRGC also warned that the union would cause a trove of problems for the UAE in the future.
According to political analysts, the United Arab Emirates needed a strong ally in the region to counter Iran, and Israel was the ideal partner. Iran has, for several decades now, adopted aggressive policies that have alarmed many of the smaller Gulf nations, such as the UAE.
Anwar Gargash, the UAE’s minister of foreign affairs has acknowledged that the move was necessary in order to contain the growing influence of Iran in the Middle East. He has, however, refrained from speculating on whether other Gulf countries would follow suit in establishing relations with Israel.