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U.S. Vows to Oppose Arms Sales to Tehran

May 07, 1987|Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Secretary of State George P. Shultz assured an Arab League delegation today the United States is now determined to block weapons purchases by Iran and to support a U.N. Security Council drive for a negotiated resolution of the Persian Gulf War.

"Unfortunately," Shultz said, "Iran has not seen fit to join such negotiations. Therefore we must continue our efforts--as we have for many years--to deny arms to Iran since it is those arms they use for the war."

The delegation, sent from Arab League headquarters in Tunis, Tunisia, was led by Abdul-Karim Iryani, the deputy prime minister and foreign minister of North Yemen.

He and two other delegates will call on President Reagan at the White House on Friday as the Administration makes a concerted effort to convince the Arab world that delivering U.S. weapons to Iran--in hopes of gaining freedom for hostages in Lebanon--was a shift in U.S. policy that has been reversed.

Reagan Approved Sale

Reagan secretly approved the sale, over Shultz's objections, despite a publicly stated drive by the United States, called Operation Staunch, to deter other countries from providing arms to Iran.

Most of the Arab countries--Syria is a notable exception--are assisting Iraq in its 6 1/2-year war with Iran.

Reagan this week sent Assistant Secretary of State Richard W. Murphy to Iraq to explain the secret U.S. deals with Tehran and to assure Saudi Arabia and other countries in the Persian Gulf that the United States is determined to secure their oil shipments through the Strait of Hormuz.

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