US State Department officials have expressed “serious concerns” today after it was revealed that Iraq has signed a $195 million arms deal with neighboring Iran. They claim this violates the arms embargo on Iran, though since this was supposed to keep Iran from buying weapons, not selling them, the allegation is unclear.
The deal was apparently reached in November, shortly after Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s most recent visit to the US. During that visit, he sought more weapons from the US as well.
Iraqi officials refused to confirm or deny the specifics of the deal, but a Maliki spokesman said the deal was “understandable” because of the war against terrorism, and that Iraq has the right to buy arms from whoever it chooses.
The purchases include light and medium arms, ammunition, and communications equipment. Iraq also sought equipment to protect against chemical weapons attack, an apparent nod to fears that the al-Qaeda factions in Syria could come up with some chemical weapons to use against them.