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Iran: US stealth fighter deployment to UAE harmful

Iran's defense minister said Monday that the deployment of American military stealth fighter jets to the United Arab Emirates will damage regional security, the semiofficial ISNA news agency reported.

Gen. Ahmad Vahidi's comments were the first official reaction to media reports of the recent deployment by the U.S. military of F-22 Raptors to the UAE's Al Dafra Air Base. The base has long hosted U.S. warplanes.

"Basing American F-22 in an Emirate's base is a harmful action and damages regional security," Gen. Vahidi was quoted as saying.

Vahidi called the deployment "psychological warfare," saying that security should be provided by regional countries.

A military presence by countries from outside the region, "...will bear no fruit except insecurity and complications," said Vahidi.

The aircraft deployment was first reported by the journal, Aviation Week.

Tehran and Washington are at odds over Iran's nuclear program. The U.S. and its allies worry Iran is seeking nuclear weapons, a charge Tehran denies.

Iran says its nuclear program is geared toward power generation and medical treatment.

The U.S. and Israel have not ruled out military action against Iranian facilities.