Jordan Official Sees U.S. Bid to Restore Mideast Credibility

From Reuters

Foreign Minister Taher Masri said Monday that the United States is trying to recover the credibility it lost over the sale of arms to Iran.

He cited as an example last Friday's announcement by the State Department that Washington is concerned about new Chinese-made Silkworm anti-ship missiles installed on the Iranian side of the Strait of Hormuz.

Iran on Sunday denied that it intends to threaten Persian Gulf shipping.

"What we see is that they (Americans) are trying to do something about their credibility," Masri told reporters.

Arab moderates charged that the arms sale to Iran ran counter to President Reagan's public policy of neutrality in the Iraq-Iran War. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Jordan's King Hussein called off visits to Washington in the incident's wake.

Masri said the United States has sought Jordan's views on ways to shore up its credibility but declined to disclose Amman's response.

He said Jordan and the United States, despite differing views on the subject, are still discussing the question of holding an international Middle East peace conference.

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