Iran accuses US of 'Iranophobia,' 'selling arms to dangerous terrorists'

DUBAI, May 22 (Reuters) - Iran accused the United States on Monday of selling arms to "dangerous terrorists" in the Middle East and of spreading "Iranophobia" aimed at encouraging Arab states to purchase arms, state television reported.

"Once again, by his repetitive and baseless claims about Iran, the American president ... tried to encourage the countries of the region to purchase more arms by spreading Iranophobia," Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi said, a day after U.S. President Donald Trump ended a visit to Tehran's arch-foe Saudi Arabia where arms deals worth almost $110 billion were signed.

Sending a tough message to Tehran shortly after pragmatist Hassan Rouhani was re-elected president, Trump had urged Arab and Islamic leaders to unite to defeat Islamist militants, and said Iran had for decades "fueled the fires of sectarian conflict and terrors."

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Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (C) welcomes U.S. President Donald Trump (2nd L) with a coffee ceremony in the Royal Terminal after he arrived aboard Air Force One at King Khalid Airport International in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia May 20, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (C) welcomes U.S. President Donald Trump (L) and first lady Melania Trump (R) to a tea ceremony in the Royal Terminal after they arrived aboard Air Force One at King Khalid Airport International in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia May 20, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih (L) arrives to attend the Saudi-US CEO Forum 2017 ahead of the arrival of the U.S. President Donald Trump, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia May 20, 2017. REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed
Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (C, in brown and white) welcomes U.S. President Donald Trump (L) and first lady Melania Trump (top, 3-R) with a military honor cordon after they arrived aboard Air Force One at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia May 20, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrive aboard Air Force One at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia May 20, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud welcomes U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump as they arrive aboard Air Force One at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia May 20, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
White House senior advisor Jared Kushner (C) and his wife Ivanka Trump walk on the tarmac after arriving with U.S. President Donald Trump aboard Air Force One at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia May 20, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
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Saudi Arabia and Iran compete for influence across the Middle East, respectively backing rival political or armed groups in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Yemen.

Iran denies Saudi accusations that it sends financial and sometimes military support to groups hostile to Riyadh.

Qassemi said Washington was "reinvigorating terrorists in the region by its hostile policies" and "should stop selling arms to dangerous terrorists."

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He said the United States and its allies "should know that Iran is a democratic, stable and powerful country" and that it promoted "peace, good neighborliness, and the creation of a world opposed to violence and extremism."

Rouhani defeated a hardline rival in Friday's election with promises to be more open to the world and ease social and political limitations at home.

The Iranian president championed a nuclear deal with the United States and five other major powers in 2015 that led to the lifting of most sanctions against Iran last year, in return for curbs on its nuclear program.

Gulf Arab states expressed support for the deal, but also fears that the lifting of sanctions would enable Tehran to pursue destabilizing policies in the Middle East. (Additional reporting by Bozorgmehr Sharafedin in London, Writing by Parisa Hafezi; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

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U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump wave as they arrive in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, May 20, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
U.S. first lady Melania Trump (from L-R, seated) holds the attention of Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Muhammad bin Nayef, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Saudi Arabia's Deputy Crown Prince and Minister of Defense Mohammed bin Salman at a Saudi welcome ceremony for U.S. President Donald Trump (not pictured) at the Royal Court in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia May 20, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
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U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump wave as they arrive in Riyadh during a reception ceremony in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, May 20, 2017.Bandar Algaloud/Courtesy of Saudi Royal Court/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY.
Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (C, in brown and white) welcomes U.S. President Donald Trump (L) and first lady Melania Trump (top, 3-R) with a military honor cordon after they arrived aboard Air Force One at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia May 20, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (C) welcomes U.S. President Donald Trump (L) and first lady Melania Trump (R) to a tea ceremony in the Royal Terminal after they arrived aboard Air Force One at King Khalid Airport International in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia May 20, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
White House senior advisor Jared Kushner (C) and his wife Ivanka Trump walk on the tarmac after arriving with U.S. President Donald Trump aboard Air Force One at King Khalid Airport in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia May 20, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (R), U.S. President Donald Trump (L) and first lady Melania Trump (C) are greeted with flowers by children in an arrival ceremony at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia May 20, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Ivanka Trump (C-L) and Jared Kushner (C-R) arrive to attend the presentation of the Order of Abdulaziz al-Saud medal at the Saudi Royal Court in Riyadh on May 20, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (lower left, back to camera) welcomes U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump as they arrive aboard Air Force One at King Khalid Airport in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia May 20, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
White House senior advisor Jared Kushner (C) and his wife Ivanka Trump walk on the tarmac after arriving with U.S. President Donald Trump aboard Air Force One at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia May 20, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud meets with U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump during a reception ceremony in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, May 20, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (2-L) welcomes U.S. President Donald Trump (L) and first lady Melania Trump as they arrive aboard Air Force One at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia May 20, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump step off Air Force One upon arrival at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh on May 20, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Ivanka Trump (L) and Jared Kushner (C) walk across the tarmac after arriving in Riyadh with US President Donald Trump (unseen) at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh on May 20, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
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