WASHINGTON - Qatar and the United Arab Emirates have requested the sale of up to $7.6 billion in Lockheed Martin Corp missile-defense systems to counter perceived threats and lower their dependence on USforces, the Pentagon announced on Monday.

The Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), which oversees foreign arms sales, formally notified lawmakers on Friday that it had approved the possible sales, which come against the backdrop of heightened tensions with Iran. The notifications were posted to the agency's website late on Monday.

Lawmakers now have 30 days to block the potential sales although such action is rare since deals are carefully vetted with lawmakers weeks before the notifications are posted.

The sale is part of Washington's ongoing effort to deepen its cooperation with Gulf nations on missile defense and increase pressure on Iran over its nuclear program.

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