- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Iran has reportedly agreed to sell $195 million worth of arms and ammunition to Iraq — a pact that the U.S. State Department is investigating with alarm, and that security experts say would break U.N. embargo rules.

Reuters reported the deal was forged in November, but signed just recently. And while Capitol Hill politicians worry whether aid the U.S. provides Iraq is now going to indirectly filter into Iran, Iraqi lawmakers say if America didn’t drag its feet on providing aid in the first place, maybe their deal with Iran wouldn’t be necessary, Reuters reported.

A spokesman for Iraq Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki wouldn’t confirm or deny the deal with Iran. But the documents obtained by Reuters indicates the agreement was finalized, and that it came just after Mr. Maliki returned from a trip to Washington to press the Obama administration for more military assistance in the fight against al Qaeda and al Qaeda-linked militants.

“We are launching a war against terrorism and we want to win this war,” said Mr. Maliki’s spokesman, Ali Mussawi, in Reuters. “Nothing prevents us from buying arms and ammunition from any party, and it’s only ammunition helping us to fight terrorists.”

The Iran government, meanwhile, denied any arms deal with Iraq.

The State Department is investigating and said any weapons trade from Iran to another country would violate the terms of a U.N. ban on such dealings.

“If true, this would raise serious concerns,” said State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki, Reuters reported. “Any transfer of arms from Iran to a third country is in direct violation of UNSCR 1747. 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.”

Ms. Psaki also said the United States is working to expedite its “deliveries of critical [counterterrorism] equipment” to Iraq, and that taxpayers have already provided the country with more than $15 billion in military assistance — to include equipment, training and services, Reuters reported.

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