Israel denies Iron Dome purchase by Saudi Arabia
UAE-based newspaper reports that an agreement has been made between two countries for the sale of advanced air defense system, following an American intervention and a promise that deal would not harm Israel's security; report says first battery will be transferred to Gulf state in December; Ministry of Defense denies existence of such a deal.
The Ministry of Defense denied Thursday a Saudi Arabian report that suggested Israel had agreed to sell Riyadh the Iron Dome air defense system.
According to the UAE-based newspaper Al Khaleej, a senior diplomatic source was quoted saying that the deal is a reflection of improved relations between the two states.
"As part of the process of developing ties between Israel and Saudi Arabia, the latter sought to purchase Iron Dome batteries from Israel," the source said.
According to the newspaper, "at the beginning of the talks, Israel firmly refused to sell the technology to an Arab country, since it could harm Israel's interests, but after an American intervention, Israeli officials agreed to sell the system to Saudi Arabia."
In addition, the report said that the Saudis would pay tens of millions of dollars to Israel, in addition to a written commitment provided through the help of an American mediation team, that the deal would not pose a threat to the security of Israel and its allies in the short and long term.
According to the report, the first Iron Dome battery will be deployed on Saudi Arabia's southern border with Yemen. Then, the country will conduct a number of experiments and firing practices using the system.
So far, many states have shown interest in purchasing the Israeli defense system.
In May, it was reported that Rafael Advanced Defense Systems signed a deal worth millions of dollars for local production of domestic air defense systems and ground systems with the Romanian company ROMAERO.
As part of the deal, ROMAERO will acquire the know-how and license for the production of air defense systems, including the Iron Dome, the naval iron dome, the "Samson" remote controlled weapon system, and "Spike" tactical missiles (also known as Gil).