Iraq Inks Deal to Buy Arms from Iran

Nouri al-Maliki got tired of US foot-dragging: Iraqi lawmakers
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 24, 2014 4:45 PM CST
Iraq Inks Deal to Buy Arms from Iran
FILE - In this Monday, June 17, 2013 file photo, an Iraqi Counter Terrorist forces soldier participates in a rehearsal with forces from Jordan and Lebanon as part of Eager Lion, a multinational military exercise in Zarqa, Jordan. Jordan says it is ready to host U.S. training of Iraqi soldiers after...   (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo, File)

Iran has agreed to sell arms and ammunition worth $195 million to Iraq after Washington apparently hesitated to make an arms deal with Baghdad. According to Reuters, signed documents show that Iran will sell mortar launchers, tank ammunition, light and medium arms, and other weapons—as well as night vision goggles and other tech items—to a government that's battling militants and tribesmen in western Iraq. "We are launching a war against terrorism and we want to win this war," said a spokesman for Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

Iraq made the deals after the US dawdled on a recent request by Maliki for more arms, according to three Iraqi lawmakers. But some Washington officials are nervous about selling elite US military equipment to a nation that's getting ever closer to Iran (both Middle East governments are Shiite, and Maliki's government is battling Sunni insurgents). A State Department spokeswoman disputed the notion of US dawdling, telling Fox News that Washington has sold Baghdad numerous weapons and ammunitions before; in fact, Iraq still gets most of its arms from the US, Reuters notes. One definite downside for the West: The new arms deal violates sanctions imposed against Iran. (More Iran stories.)

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