Washington, DC – In response to the public reports of the Administration’s plans for new arms sales to Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf states, Chairman Tom Lantos (D-CA) of the House Foreign Affairs Committee issued this statement today:

“The Administration discussed the outlines of the proposed arms sales with a dozen members of our committee on Tuesday, and we have called for a thorough briefing in September. We will see where we are then. We particularly want to ensure that these arrangements include only defensive systems, and not items that can be used for other purposes.

“We welcome the development that the Saudis and other Gulf states have recognized that a nuclear weapons-equipped Iran is a mortal threat to them.

“There is no merit to the general argument that if the United States does not sell arms to these countries, they will go elsewhere and we will lose influence in the region. We provide the kind of security for these countries that others cannot, and they know it.”