JEDDAH: Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps has caused outrage by displaying missile models and other weapons at a defense show in Qatar in which the US also took part.

Guard commanders held meetings in their booth, which featured a giant poster of a fast boat filled with commandos, while others strolled around the trade floor.

“We reject the presence of Iran at a maritime defense exhibition, considering that it’s Iran that single-handedly is threatening maritime stability throughout the Gulf region,” US State Department spokesman Ned Price saidon Thursday.

Qatari officials said the IRGC had not been invited to the three-day event in Doha, which concluded on Wednesday. “The participation in the event and pavilion was by the Iranian Ministry of Defense and there were no invitations sent to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard,” a spokesman said.

A model of an Iranian launch system missile is seen at a stand at the DIMDEX exhibition in Doha, Qatar, on March 23, 2022. (AP Photo/Lujain Jo)

During the show, Iranian delegates passed the entourage surrounding the commander of the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet, took photos of an Italian armored personnel carrier and handled Turkish machine guns.
Qatar’s DIMDEX exhibition drew international defense companies hoping to boost sales to Gulf states that are expanding the military capabilities.

In a booth next to Iran’s, the US supplier General Atomics showcased its MQ-9B predator drone, which is engineered to conduct anti-surface warfare, including maritime surveillance and precision-guided munitions.The US State Department has authorized the company to sell 18 of the drones to the UAE in a deal worth up to $2.9 billion.

The Revolutionary Guards, who answer directly to Iran’s supreme leader, have expanded in the region via proxies, including the Houthis in Yemen, who last weekend launched a barrage of strikes on Saudi oil facilities.