A senior Iranian military official is warning Gulf Arab nations not to buy U.S. missile defense systems, saying they can easily be thwarted.

The chief of staff of Iran's armed forces, General Hassan Firouzabadi, was quoted Thursday by Iranian state news as saying the Patriot missiles can be made ineffective through simple tactics.

Iran has accused the United States of trying to create divisions between Tehran and its Arab neighbors by deploying U.S. missile defense systems in Gulf nations.

On Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton defended U.S. efforts to bolster the defense capabilities of regional allies, as Iran defies international calls to curb its nuclear program.

Clinton said the U.S. must remain aware of Iran's refusal to meet its obligations under the United Nations Security Council and the U.N. nuclear agency.  

She spoke after meeting in Washington with Bahrain's foreign minister, Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa.

The Bahraini minister said the defense measures are not aimed at provoking Iran, but to protect international interests in a region critical to the shipment of oil.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.