Iran Known as Top Regional Power: FM
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Iran is known as the most powerful country in the region, thanks to its domestic capabilities and reliance on people, unlike certain neighbors that have spent tens of billions of dollars on the purchase of foreign arms, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said.
Addressing a program at the University of Tehran on Saturday, Zarif said others regard Iran as the most powerful country in the region.
Unlike Saudi Arabia that has spent $67 billion on arms, Iran relies on its people to ensure security and development, the minister added.
Last year, Saudi Arabia’s military expenditure outstripped that of Russia which is a nuclear superpower, Zarif added, saying the big purchasers of arms still feel “insecure” and are not known as safe and powerful states.
He also said that Iran would hold negotiations with regional countries that show respect, adding that certain neighbors are not ready for talks although Tehran has no problem with dialogue.
According to data published by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) on February 14, Saudi Arabia spent $76.7 billion on its armed forces in 2017, which was far higher than any other country in the region and indeed the third largest military budget in the world after the US and China.
According to Zarif, the military expenditure in Iran stood at some figure between 12 and 16 billion dollars in 2017.