US to Iraq: Inspect Iranian Planes en Route to Syria

Officials say planes are carrying weapons for regime
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 6, 2012 8:21 AM CDT
A Free Syrian Army soldier looks at a Syrian military that caught on fire during clashes with Syrian government troops in Aleppo, Syria.   (AP Photo/Ugarit News via AP video)

(Newser) – If Iraq is going to let Iran fly over its airspace to get to Syria, then it's going to have to inspect Iranian planes to ensure they're not smuggling weapons to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's troops, the Obama administration said yesterday. American officials tell the New York Times that intelligence indicates the Iranian flights are in fact transporting weapons. "They are permitting overflights to deliver weapons … to support regime forces," thus violating UN Security Council resolutions prohibiting Iran from exporting its weapons, one anonymous official tells the Washington Post.

But Iraq does not want to be pulled into the Syrian conflict, and a spokesperson says Iran has assured the government that it is only transporting humanitarian aid. Three US senators met with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki yesterday, warning that the US-Iraq relationship—not to mention aid from the US to Iraq—could be affected by Iraq's refusal to get involved, but Maliki says the US has yet to provide proof that weapons are being transported. Iran's flights over Iraq were temporarily halted in March, but started up again in July. (Read more Iran stories.)

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