Time: Iran has denied any knowledge of the deal, which was supposedly reached only weeks after al-Maliki returned from lobbying the Obama administration in Washington for additional arms.
If verified, the deal could threaten negotiations over Tehran’s nuclear program
By Per Liljas
Iran has signed a $195 million deal to sell arms and ammunition to Iraq, according to documents viewed by Reuters, a transaction that would break a U.N. embargo regarding weapon sales by Tehran.
Iraq’s Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is fed up with delays in U.S. arms deliveries, several Iraqi lawmakers have said, and although his spokesman refused to either confirm nor deny the agreement, he conceded that such a deal would be understandable considering his country’s security issues.
“Nothing prevents us from buying arms and ammunition from any party and it’s only ammunition helping us to fight terrorists,” he said.
Iran has denied any knowledge of the deal, which was supposedly reached only weeks after al-Maliki returned from lobbying the Obama administration in Washington for additional arms.
A Tehran weapons sale could complicate ongoing negotiations to ease international sanctions over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program.
“If true, this would raise serious concerns,” said State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki during a news briefing. “We are seeking clarification on the matter from the government of Iraq and to ensure that Iraqi officials understand the limits that international law places on arms trade with Iran.”