The Shah and Shahbanou of Iran greet PresidentNixon and First Lady Patricia Nixon, 05/30/1972 The Nixon administration's tilt toward Tehran led to significant shifts in its policy toward Iran and Iraq in 1972. First, the United States abandoned its sporadic efforts to rein in the Shah's extravagant military spending. During his May 1972 visit to Tehran, Nixon promised to sell the Shah any American arms (short of atomic weapons) that he desired. During the May 1972 meetings with the Shah in Tehran, however, Nixon made two commitments of far-reaching importance. (200, 201) First, contrary to his advisors' counsel, Nixon agreed to provide laser bombs, F-14 and F-15 aircraft, and more air force technicians--in short, "all available sophisticated weapons short of the atomic bomb." (204, 205, 210, 215) The second commitment was to aid the Iraqi Kurds (see Iraq section, below). Nixon's response represented the administration's new position that, as Kissinger phrased it, "it is not repeat not our policy to discourage Iranian arms purchases" and prevent Iranian overbuying, which merely sent the Shah elsewhere to the detriment of U.S. suppliers. Instead, "decisions as to desirability of equipment acquisition should be left in the hands of the Iranian Government and the United States should not undertake to discourage on economic grounds." (211, 213) Despite Iran's enhanced oil income, American officials recognized that the Shah was likely to persist in deficit spending. In 1972, the Iranian military budget totaled $1,023 million, 22 percent of the total budget and 10 percent of the GNP, and was expected to rise to 25 percent of the GNP by 1975 if spending patterns continued. (117, 166, 167) Although U.S. officials believed that Iran could afford both guns and butter, many alienated Iranians sharply disagreed. During Nixon’s trip to Tehran, opponents of the Shah orchestrated a bombing campaign that the Embassy believed was the result of "a violence-inclined ‘youth underground’ [that] has taken root in Iran with possibly serious consequences for the country's long-term stability." Violent protests and demonstrations followed. While these dissidents posed a disproportionate threat, however, officials did not judge them an immediate danger to state security. Nixon had leveraged U.S. Middle Eastern regional policy primarily around the focal point of a militarily strong, pro-U.S. Iran. In concert, the shah was encouraged to begin an unprecedented military spending spree. Consequently, in mid-1972 following a meeting of the two leaders in Tehran, Iranian annual purchases went, virtually overnight, from being measured in the tens of millions to being measured in the multi-billions. Tracing the complex evolution toward that meeting, and the accompanying policy shifts, form an underappreciated part of Cold War history. When the former Shah of Iran died in Egypt in July 1980, Nixon defied the State Department, which intended to send no U.S. representative, by attending the funeral. Though Nixon had no official credentials, as a former president he was seen as the American presence at its former ally's funeral.