Pentagon plans advanced Patriot missile sale to Kuwait

WASHINGTON Wed Aug 11, 2010 5:57pm EDT

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Obama administration told Congress on Wednesday it planned to sell Kuwait the latest production version of Raytheon Co's Patriot interceptor missile amid concerns over Iran's growing missile capabilities.

Kuwait seeks as many as 209 MIM-104E Patriot Guidance Enhanced Missile-T (GEM-T) interceptors valued at up to $900 million, the Pentagon's Defense Security Cooperation Agency said in a notice to lawmakers.

"Kuwait needs these missiles to meet current and future threats of enemy air-to-ground weapons," the notice said. It said Kuwait would use the increased capability as a deterrent to regional threats and to strengthen its homeland defense.

The GEM-T is designed to counter a range of enemy missile and air threats, including tactical ballistic missiles that could be tipped with chemical, biological or nuclear weapons.

Top Pentagon officials told Congress in April that Iran could produce enough highly enriched uranium for a single nuclear weapon in as little as a year but would probably need three to five years to assemble, test and deploy it.

Western powers fear Iran seeks to develop nuclear weapons under the guise of a civilian electricity generating program, a charge Tehran denies.

Kenneth Katzman, a Middle East expert at the Congressional Research Service, said the proposed sale was part of a U.S. drive to contain growing Iranian military clout "and prepare for the possibility Iran might acquire a nuclear capability."

The United States also has expanded land- and sea-based missile defense systems in and around Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, U.S. officials have said. In addition, it has been helping build a layered shield for Israel.

General David Petraeus, who as then-head of the U.S. Central Command was responsible for military operations across the Middle East, said in January that the United States had stationed eight Patriot missile batteries in four Gulf countries he did not identify.

The newly proposed sale to Kuwait would not alter the basic military balance in the region, the Pentagon told Congress.

"The sale would contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a major Non-NATO ally which has been, and continues to be, an important force for political stability and economic progress in the Middle East," it said.

The notice of a potential sale is required by law and does not mean the sale has been concluded. Congress has 30 days to review the proposed sale.

The prime contractor would be Waltham, Massachusetts-based Raytheon, the world's biggest missile maker.

(Reporting by Jim Wolf; Editing by Sandra Maler and Jerry Norton)

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Comments (3)
clownsliars wrote:
US ‘NO’ to Iran’s N-programme illogical, baseless: Experts

ISLAMABAD – Iran should be allowed to continue its peaceful nuclear programme, as it has every right to provide its people with their most basic need i.e. electricity, experts said on Saturday.
Speaking at a seminar ‘Iranian Nuclear Programme in Regional Perspective” held at the Iranian embassy, experts including Prof Dr Syed Riffat Hussein, Akram Zaki, Dr Tahir Ahmed Khan and Imtiaz Gul criticised the US policies saying the US and its allies needed not only to accept but also respect Iran’s growing role in the international community. The speakers defended Iran’s nuclear programme and asked the world community to immediately call off sanction against Iran.
Akram Zaki, former ambassador stated that the US and its allies also needed to stop their irrepressible tirade of threats against Iran.
“Any issue they have over Iran’s nuclear programme should be resolved with sincere democratic efforts. This situation, if not contained with cool head and if miscalculations continue, can easily turn into a crisis with potentially global ramifications for the rule of law under the NPT and for the economic and security interests of all concerned in the region and beyond,” he said adding that the world should not allow itself to be dragged into another conflict on false pretences in this region again.
“One often hears that Iran’s real purpose for pursuing nuclear technology is to develop nuclear weapons and that with its huge oil and gas reserves it has no real need for nuclear energy. I must say these claims are politically motivated and are based entirely on hatred and distrust towards the region and its people,” Akram Zaki said while addressing the seminar.
Dr Tahir Ahmed Khan said Uranium enrichment for a civilian nuclear programme was Iran’s inalienable right. “It cannot be taken away because of the West’s stereotypical suspension towards Iran.” “Iran has a real need for nuclear power and should be allowed to continue its civilian nuclear programme as there is no evidence of a nuclear weapons programme,” he said. Dr Tahir said adding that it was important to remember the history of Iran’s nuclear programme and its relation with the West to fully comprehend the enduring “crisis.”
Dr Tahir told the participants that Iran’s nuclear history pre-dated the current Islamic government, which is being accused of developing “weapons of mass destruction.” It originated in the mid-1970s when the US-installed dictator Shah unveiled plans to purchase several nuclear reactors from Germany, France and the United States to generate electricity. Shah was placed in power after the CIA Operation Ajax in 1953 destroyed Iran’s democracy and replaced it with a US-friendly dictatorship when their government negotiated for more than 15pc of oil profits. At that time, the United States encouraged Iran to expand its non-oil energy base. In recognition of Iran’s energy needs, US-Iran Nuclear Energy Agreement was signed in July 1978 – several months before the Islamic revolution.

Aug 11, 2010 11:33pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
EstherHaman wrote:
OOH YEHH, sell those expensive weapon systems to the Arabs, the money is good. A few more years of this Iran phobia we should be out of this recession.

Aug 12, 2010 2:56pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Reload wrote:
Iran is not a peaceful country , it is a major state sponsor of terrorism, its IEDs are killing Americans from Iraq to Afghanistan. It is the 2nd Nation in the world for executions and the number one in child executions. It threats war with Israel, calls America the Great Satan. It’s Mullahocracy has thousands of its own people and continues to do,. Kuwait would not need this missile defense system if it was not for Tehran’s path of war.

Aug 13, 2010 1:34pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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