The United States is trying to block Russian arms sales.
They have warned Iraq, along with a number of other countries, of ‘consequences’ should they extend military cooperation with Russia and also warned against striking deals to purchase advanced weaponry in particular the S-400 surface-to-air missile defense systems.
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Baghdad has been planning to buy the surface-to-air missile system from Moscow.
Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Washington was also trying to persuade Latin American countries, Asia and Africa to abandon the purchase of Russian weapons and military equipment in exchange for compensation with US alternatives.
Press TV reports: US State Department spokeswoman Heather Neuert said on Thursday that Washington has contacted many countries, including Iraq, to explain the significance of the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), and possible consequences that would arise in the wake of defense agreements with Moscow.
On August 2, 2017, US President Donald Trump signed into law the CAATSA that imposed sanctions on Iran, North Korea, and Russia.
Neuert said she did not know whether Iraq and Russia have finalized an accord on the S-400 missile systems.
The remarks came only a few days after Saudi Arabia’s Arabic-language al-Watan newspaper reported that Baghdad is planning to buy Russian-made S-400 surface-to-air missile system from Moscow.
There are also reports that Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has tasked a team of advisers from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense and National Security Council to negotiate the purchase of the missile systems with Russian officials.
Earlier this month, Chairman of the Defense Committee of the Russian Federation Council, Colonel General Viktor Bondarev, named Syria, Iraq, Sudan and Egypt as the potential buyers of the defense systems.
Last week, Chief Executive Officer of Rostec, Russia’s state-owned corporation for promoting the development, production and export of high-tech industrial products, stated that Moscow is ready to sell its air defense systems to any country with security concerns.