Donald Trump’s administration moves forward quietly the plan to create a new Union in the field of security and politics along with the six countries of the Gulf plus Egypt and Jordan. One of its aims is to counter Iranian expansion in the region.

The White House wants individual countries to cooperate more closely in the anti-missile defence, military training, counter-terrorism and diplomatic relations, four sources said.

This plan to build something that representatives from the White House and the Middle East called “Arab NATO” from Sunni allies will probably increase tensions between the US and Shiite Iran. Both sides are in an acute conflict since Donald Trump became president, Reuters noted. The US government’s hope is this idea, which was temporarily known under the name of the Middle East Strategic Alliance (MESA), to be discussed at a summit that was scheduled for 12-13 October in Washington, several sources said.

The White House confirmed that it worked on the idea of the union “together with the regional partners at the moment, as well as over the last few months”.

Saudi officials launched the idea of a security pact last year before Donald Trump visited Saudi Arabia, where he announced a large arms deal. But there was no further development on the proposal, a US source said. Sources from some of the Arab countries involved also said they are familiar with the new efforts to trigger the plan. Representatives of other potential participants did not reply to the requests for comment.

A senior Iranian source told Reuters that “under the pretext of ensuring stability in the Middle East, the Americans and their regional allies create tensions in the region”. He said this approach would not have any other result than “deepen the gap between Iran, its regional allies and US-backed Arab countries”.

The tension with Iran has intensified after in May, Trump announced that the United States was withdrawing from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) agreement signed in 2015, which must limit Tehran’s nuclear ambitions. The main weight in a possible Alliance will fall on Saudi Arabia and the UAE, which will be expected to work more closely with the Trump administration. Currently Washington, Riyadh and Abu Dhabi accuse Iran of destabilising the area, shaking the restless situation in some Arab countries through satellite organisations and intermediaries, as well as addressing threats to Israel.