In a Feb. 4 interview with the semi-official Iranian Tasnim News Agency, Mohammed Majid al-Sheikh, Iraq’s ambassador to Iran, was reported to have revealed his country’s intention to strike a deal to buy weapons from Iran.
The agency quoted Sheikh as saying, “Some well-informed sources said that the Iranian-Iraqi talks came in light of the Iraqi Ministry of Defense’s vision of the need to supply the Iraqi army with Iranian-made military equipment, given their efficiency and importance.”
This style of statement is inconsistent with the ambassador’s official role, which is to present the official position of the Iraqi government, from official Iraqi sources, not from “well-informed sources.” This calls into question the validity of this supposed news, especially since it has not been confirmed by Iranian authorities or the Iraqi officials typically involved in such deals.
Mohammed Ugail, a member of the ruling coalition in Iraq, had declared in a Jan. 17 interview with a Russian website that the Iraqi government was seeking to strike arms deals with Egypt as well as Iran.
In addition, several newspapers and news websites have reported on an Iraqi purchase of Iranian weapons, giving the story additional impetus by claiming that the deal has already been sealed. They quote Sheikh as having said, “Iraq signed a memorandum of understanding with Iran to buy weapons and military equipment.”
Iraqi Defense Minister Saadoun al-Dulaimi had traveled to Iran on Sept. 23, it is thought to discuss ways to promote defense cooperation between the two countries. His visit followed that of Iraqi parliament speaker Osama al-Najafi, to offer condolences to the commander of the al-Quds Force, Qasem Soleimani, on the death of his mother.