The White House has forged an agreement with Saudi Arabia to sell the kingdom $29.4 billion worth of equipment for the Royal Saudi Air Force.
The agreement includes production of 84 new Boeing F-15SA aircraft and the modernization of 70 existing aircraft as well as munitions, spare parts, training, maintenance and logistics, according to a White House press release. Officials with the Administration of Barack Obama say the move will help to bolster the U.S. economy by engaging 600 American suppliers in 44 States, providing $3.5 billion in annual economic impact.
The agreement is part of a larger $60 billion arms package for Saudi Arabia that was passed by Congress last year. The White House decision to move forward with this portion comes as tensions mount between the United States and Iran in the Persian Gulf and the final troops are pulled from Iraq.
Saudi Arabia is a longtime enemy of Iran, and the tattered relationship between the two countries may be exploited by the White House as the U.S. and Iran continue to quarrel over nuclear energy and trade sanctions. The Saudi weapons-sale announcement comes just a week after Iranian officials threatened to close the vital Straits of Hormuz in response to indications that the United States plans to impose new sanctions on Iranian oil exports.