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Iran Much In Mind As U.S. Wraps Up $30B Sale Of Fighters To Saudi Arabia

The news that the U.S. has finalized a deal to sell nearly $30 billion worth of F-15SA fighter jets and other equipment to Saudi Arabia comes, as every story about the agreement says, as America and its allies seek to further isolate and pressure Iran so long as that Persian nation continues to be a threat to others in the region.

According to The Associated Press, "the U.S. will send Saudi Arabia 84 new fighter jets and upgrades for 70 more. Production of the aircrafts, which will be manufactured by Boeing Co., will support 50,000 jobs and have a $3.5 billion annual economic impact in the U.S., the White House said."

As The Washington Post writes, "the deal comes at a time of increased saber-rattling between Washington and Tehran. This week, Iran threatened to block the strategically vital Strait of Hormuz if the West imposed an oil embargo. The U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet, based in nearby Bahrain, responded by warning against the disruption of vessels' travel along the route."

The deal's timing, says The New York Times:

"Is laden with significance, with tensions over Iran mounting and the United States pulling its last soldiers out of Iraq. It could also indicate that the chill between the United States and Saudi Arabia has thawed since the two longtime allies clashed over how each handled the Arab Spring. ...

"The Saudis were angry that President Obama withdrew support for Egypt's embattled president, Hosni Mubarak, after he faced large-scale protests in Cairo and other major cities. ... Later, it was the White House's turn to be upset, when Saudi tanks rolled into in neighboring Bahrain in a show of support for that kingdom's Sunni monarchy."

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Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.