Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif slammed the United States on Monday of transforming the Gulf into a “tinderbox” with its arms sales to regional allies.

During a visit to the Gulf state, Zarif said, “The US $50 billion worth of weapons to the region last year. Some of the countries in the region with less than a third of our population spend $87 billion on military procurement”.

“If you are talking about threats coming from the region, the threats are coming from the US and its allies who are pouring weapons in the region, making it a tinderbox ready to blow up,” Zarif was quoted as saying by Press TV.

He also decried the US move to form a maritime military coalition to, what it calls, “boost security in the region”.

Washington is seeking to assemble a coalition to secure maritime traffic in the Strait of Hormuz — the key to the global oil trade — following a number of attacks on oil tankers blamed by Washington on Tehran.

Iran strongly denies involvement.

While in Qatar, Zarif met with Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani and discussed “issues of common interest”, the state-run Qatar News Agency reported.

Earlier in June this year, tensions spiked when Iran shot down a US drone over sensitive Gulf waters following a series of oil tanker attacks that Washington blamed on Tehran, which the latter denied.