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U.S. Signs Defense Deal With United Arab Emirates With Eye On Iran

The United Arab Emirates has been fighting with a Saudi-led coalition against Huthi rebels in Yemen who are aligned with Iran.

The United States has signed a new defense cooperation agreement with the United Arab Emirates, which like Saudi Arabia regards Iran as a strategic adversary that is fomenting conflicts throughout the Middle East.

Gulf Arab states hope the Trump administration will put a check on what they see as a surge of Iranian support for paramilitary allies in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Lebanon and for fellow Shi'ite Muslims in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia's oil-producing Eastern Province.

"The president hopes to work together even more closely to resolve regional conflicts that raged across the region for too long," White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said in announcing the agreement with the emirates on May 16.

The agreement will allow Washington to send more troops and equipment to the Persian Gulf and comes as the United States is reportedly preparing a package of weapons sales for the Saudis worth over $100 billion.

Since taking office, Trump administration has already increased cooperation with the emirates in Yemen against Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. It also appears increasingly inclined to support a Saudi-led coalition against Yemeni rebel fighters, the Huthis, who are aligned with Iran.

Based on reporting by dpa and Reuters