News / Middle East

Iraqi Leaders Send Mixed Messages on Reported Iran Arms Deal

FILE- Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif (L) speaks during a joint news conference with Iraq's Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari (R) in Baghdad, Jan. 14, 2014
FILE- Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif (L) speaks during a joint news conference with Iraq's Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari (R) in Baghdad, Jan. 14, 2014
Reuters
Iraqi officials gave contradictory accounts on Tuesday about whether or not Baghdad had agreed to buy $195 million worth of arms and ammunition from Iran as reported by Reuters, a deal that if confirmed could damage Iraqi-U.S. relations.
 
The Defense Ministry denied any such deal had been done, while a senior Iraqi government lawmaker who heads parliament's security and defense committee said Baghdad had bought “some light weapons and ammunition” from Tehran.
 
The United States has demanded explanations from Iraq since such a deal would violate U.S. and U.N. sanctions imposed on Iran over its disputed nuclear program. An influential U.S. senator said the sale of 24 Apache attack helicopters to Iraq should be reconsidered until the matter was cleared up.
 
The United States has supplied weaponry to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's government to help it combat al-Qaida militants and related splinter groups.
 
However, Maliki's Shi'ite Muslim-dominated government has strong relations with Iran, the biggest regional Shi'ite power. Washington has been vying with Tehran for influence in Iraq since the 2003 fall of Sunni dictator Saddam Hussein to a U.S.-led invasion. The last U.S. troops left Iraq in December 2011.
 
Reuters, citing documents it had obtained, reported on Monday that Iraq struck the arms deal with Iran at the end of November after Maliki returned from Washington where he had lobbied for extra weapons to fight al-Qaida.
 
Some in Washington worry about providing sensitive U.S. military equipment to a country they worry is becoming too close to Iran. Several Iraqi lawmakers said Maliki had made the deal because he was fed up with delays in U.S. arms deliveries.
 
The Iraqi Defense Ministry denied Reuters's report, saying it had used the issue “for political and media purposes”.
 
The ministry acknowledged Iran had put in a bid for a contract to supply Iraq with night vision goggles and ammunition, but said that the tender was granted to other parties it did not identify.
 
“Bids were received from many international companies, including Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Poland, Serbia, China, Ukraine and Pakistan, along with other companies,” A ministry  statement said. “The Iranian Defensive Industries Organization  submitted offers. However [our] reference was with other companies and no contract was signed with the Iranian company.”
 
Two contracts seen by Reuters were agreed with the state-owned Iran Electronic Industries for night vision goggles, communications equipment and mortar-guiding devices.

Iranian denial, U.S. call for explanation
 

The Iranian government denied any knowledge of a deal to sell arms to Iraq.
 
Hasan Suneid, a senior lawmaker from Maliki's Dawa Party who heads parliament's security and defense committee, said Iraq had bought weapons from Iran and insisted this was within its right and violated no international sanctions.
 
“The U.S. government is not the Iraqi government's guardian,” Suneid told reporters at the national parliament.
 
“We have the right to buy arms from any state that is friendly and cooperates with Iraq. The arms we purchased from Iran are nothing more than light weapons and ammunition.
 
“We have the right to select different sources for weapons. Iran is a friendly, neighboring state just like Kuwait, Jordan, Turkey and Saudi Arabia,” he said.
 
On Monday, a spokesman for Maliki would not confirm or deny the reported sale, but said such a deal would be understandable given Iraq's current security troubles.
 
White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters the Obama administration was seeking answers from Baghdad.
 
“We raised our concerns about this matter at the highest levels with the government of Iraq and reiterated that any transfer or sale of arms from Iran is in direct violation of  United Nations Security Council resolutions,” Carney said. “The government of Iraq assured us they would look into the matter.”
 
Washington has rushed Hellfire missiles and surveillance drones to Iraq since January as Maliki has found himself embroiled in complicated battles in Anbar province with al-Qaida-linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants, as well as angry Sunni Muslim tribesmen resentful of their treatment by Maliki's Shi'ite-led government.
 
Since the Anbar fighting broke out in January, the Obama administration has pushed to move ahead with the sale of 24 Apache attack helicopters to Iraq, which had been held up for months due to concerns of U.S. lawmakers about how Maliki, who is increasingly at odds with minority Sunnis, would use them.
 
A Shi'ite lawmaker close to Maliki said the deal with Iran sent a message to Washington that threatening to withhold or delay arms purchases would no longer work.
 
The U.S. Congress has a 30-day period that ends Wednesday to hold up the Apache sale. Prominent U.S. Senator John McCain told Reuters on Tuesday the plan should be reconsidered in light of Baghdad's reported arms transaction with Tehran.
 
“The Apache sale has got to be on the table. We've got to discuss it,” McCain said when asked about the Reuters report. “We've got to understand the ramification of this arms deal. We have to look at it a little more carefully.”

You May Like

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said To Be Improving

Experimental drugs have been tried on six people: three Westerners and now, three African pyhysicians More

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities residents rebuild their lives, but many say everyone is being treated with suspicion More

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

Girls learn to object; FGM practitioners face penalties from jail sentences to stiff fines More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: biola from: nigeria
February 28, 2014 12:28 PM
I don't know why,I can't just unferstand why U.S are doing this.


by: MUSTAFA from: INDIA
February 25, 2014 9:31 PM
When Israel, Saudi arabia,Jordon and so many other countries can purchase arms to sponsor terrorist group, what is the harm to purchase arms from Iran to defence Iraqi soil from Al Qaida and so many other groups very well equip and sponsor by world fame countries.


by: Zoe from: US
February 25, 2014 8:41 PM
and with that squalid deal between Iraq and Iran - we come to know that thousands of Americans died in vain - sacrificed their lives - to liberate Arabs from their oppressors. Here is to you - squalid degenerates Arabs!!!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improvingi
X
Carol Pearson
August 19, 2014 11:43 PM
The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.
Video

Video For Obama, Racial Violence is Personal Issue

The racial violence in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson is presenting U.S. President Barack Obama with an issue to which he has a deep personal connection. To many Americans, Obama's election as America's first black president marked a turning point in race relations in the United States, and Obama has made ending the violence a policy priority. On Monday he issued a new call for calm and understanding. Luis Ramirez reports from the White House.
Video

Video Clinton-Obama Relationship Could Impact 2016 Election

President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have a long and complicated relationship. That relationship took another turn recently when Clinton criticized the president’s foreign policy. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports there is renewed attention on the Clinton-Obama relationship as Hillary Clinton considers running for
Video

Video Iran Looks to Maintain Influence in Baghdad With New Shia PM

Washington and Tehran share the goal of stopping Syrian-based militants in Iraq. But experts say it's Iran, not the United States, that will most influence how the new government in Baghdad approaches internal reforms and the war in Syria. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.

AppleAndroid