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February 24, 2014

Report: Iran, Iraq Sign Arms Deal

by VOA News

A published report says Iraq has signed a deal to purchase weapons from Iran, breaking a U.N.-imposed embargo on weapons sales by Tehran.

Reuters news agency reported seeing documents that say the $195 million deal would include light and medium arms, various types of ammunition, as well as day and night vision goggles, protection against chemical agents and communication equipment.

Reuters said the deal was reached at the end of November just weeks after Iraq's Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki traveled to Washington to lobby the Obama administration for more weapons to fight al-Qaida linked militants.

A spokesman for the Iraqi prime minister would not confirm or deny the sale, but said such a deal would be understandable given Iraq's current security troubles.  Several Iraqi lawmakers told Reuters Maliki made the deal because he is fed up with delays in U.S. arms deliveries.

The Iranian government denied any knowledge of a deal to sell arms to Iraq.

In Washington, a U.S. State Department spokeswoman disputed any notion that Washington has slowed weapons deliveries. She said the U.S. is seeking "clarification" from Iraq about the report, which, if true, would "raise serious concerns."