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'France destabilizing Persian Gulf'

France is under fire for its recent arms deal with the United Arab Emirates that is part of a Saudi-led coalition waging a devastating war on Yemen. Now, Iran says such weapons sales by the European nation are aimed at destabilizing the Persian Gulf region. Khatibzadeh also slammed what he called European countries’ double standards when it comes to Iran’s defense program. He said they condemn Iran for its missile program but continue delivering lethal arms to some of the regional states. Earlier this month, the UAE and France signed a 14-Billion-Euro arms deal that will see Abu Dhabi acquiring 80 Rafale fighter jets and 12 military helicopters. Rights groups have condemned the deal and urged Paris to stop the weapons sales.

Global arms sales

A new report suggests the global military spending has been on the rise, with the world’s biggest weapons manufacturers recording a growth in their profits for a sixth straight year. The report published by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute says top 100 weapons manufacturers sold a record of over 530-billion-dollar worth of arms in 2020 alone. That’s a 1.3 percent rise compared to the previous year. The top five manufacturers are all from the United States, including Lockheed-Martin which ranks first. Britain's BAE Systems, is on the sixth position, and is the highest-placed European firm, just ahead of three Chinese groups.

Europe COVID-19 restrictions

Several European countries are taking extra measures to stem the surge in COVID-19 infections amid concerns over the new Omicron variant. Italy has tightened curbs on the people still not vaccinated, limiting their access to an array of places and services. A rise in COVID cases in recent weeks has also prompted authorities to make health pass obligatory for all public transport. In Germany, a nationwide lockdown has already started for the unvaccinated citizens. The government is also planning to make jabs compulsory in 2022. Elsewhere in Europe, Poland is set to announce a new package of pandemic restrictions this week in response to Omicron and how to handle the Christmas holidays. The polish health ministry reported over 13,000 new coronavirus cases on Monday.


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