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

Report: $60 Billion Leaves Africa Illegally Each Year

Report by joint UN and African Union panel says African countries need to take concrete measures to stop illegal money flow from continent each year More

Video Spy Murder Probe Likely to Further Strain British-Russian Relations

Some analysts say Russian Tu-95 bombers were flying near British airspace to warn Britain about an inquest into a murdered Russian spy More

Mugabe Defends Image Amid Controversy at Close of AU Summit

He rejects concerns about how the West might perceive his leadership, saying he's focused on African development 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.
Spy Murder Probe Likely to Further Strain British-Russian Relationsi
X
Henry Ridgwell
January 31, 2015 10:50 PM
Relations between Russia and the West are set to become even more strained amid an inquiry in London into the murder of a former Russian spy. Lawyers at the inquiry accuse Russian President Vladimir Putin of directing a "mafia state." Meanwhile, Royal Air Force fighters intercepted Russian bombers close to British airspace this week, prompting authorities to summon Moscow’s ambassador. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Spy Murder Probe Likely to Further Strain British-Russian Relations

Relations between Russia and the West are set to become even more strained amid an inquiry in London into the murder of a former Russian spy. Lawyers at the inquiry accuse Russian President Vladimir Putin of directing a "mafia state." Meanwhile, Royal Air Force fighters intercepted Russian bombers close to British airspace this week, prompting authorities to summon Moscow’s ambassador. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Neighborhood Divided Over Conflict

People in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk districts find themselves squarely in the path of advancing Russian-backed rebels, who want to take back the territory they held at the beginning of the conflict last year. Many local residents are afraid, but others would welcome the change, even when a rebel shell lands in their neighborhood. From the Luhansk district, 15 kilometers from where the Ukrainian government marks the front line, VOA’s Al Pessin reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Later

Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid