Baghdad rejects report of weapons smuggle from Iraq to Russia

A military vehicle of the Iraqi security forces is seen next to an Iraqi flag in Falluja, Iraq, June 13, 2016. (Reuters)

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — Iraqi authorities on Tuesday rejected a report that weapons and ammunition had been smuggled from Iraq to Russia.

The Guardian reported late on Monday that Russia was receiving munitions and military hardware sourced from Iraq for its war effort in Ukraine with the help of Iranian weapons smuggling networks.

Among the weapons being transferred to Russia area Iran’s Bavar 373 missile system similar to the Russia S-300, the Guardian cited regional intelligence services with knowledge of the process as saying.

“Talks about smuggling weapons and ammunition are baseless,” spokesman of Iraq’s border crossing commission Aladdin al-Qaisi said in a statement.

Iraqi government sources also denied the report, saying “how we can send weapons to Russia while we import them from Russia for decades”.

“A party might have sent weapons to a neighboring country, but there is no planned movement from the Iraqi government and even outlawed groups have not done such a job,” they added.

The Guardian reported that RPGs and anti-tank missiles in the possession of Hashid al-Shaabi were transported to Iran through the Salamja border crossing on March 26.

They were received by the Iranian military and taken on to Russia by sea, the Guardian cited a commander of the militia branch that controls the crossing as saying.

Hashid al-Shaabi also dismantled and sent in pieces two Brazilian-designed Astros II rocket launcher systems to Iran on April 1, the British newspaper said.

“We don’t care where the heavy weapons go [because we don’t need them at the moment],” one Hashd al-Shaabi source told the Guardian. “Whatever is anti-US makes us happy.”

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