Iran, Iraq To Boost Air Defense Cooperation As US Pressure Grows

Major General Mohammad Baqeri, chief of the armed forces, has said Iran and its neighbor Iraq have agreed to cooperate in the area of air defense to in order to fend off common aerial challenges.

He made the remarks following a meeting in Tehran with his visiting Iraqi counterpart, Lieutenant General Othman al-Ghanimi, Mehr reported on Sunday.

General Baqeri said the meeting focused on defense of the two countries’ skies, because “Iran might sense threats coming from its western borders.”

General Mohammad Baqeri, head of Iran’s army

Accordingly, it was agreed that more coordination be made in the air defense sector, he said.

Baqeri said Iran and Iraq also agreed on potential training cooperation, transferring of Iran’s defense experiences to Iraq, and joint military exercises.

Agreements on these matters will be finalized in the near future, he added.

“We have friendly relations with Iraq’s army… and we agree that the two countries enjoy deep ties,” General Baqeri said.

Iran’s relations with Iraq is different from other countries’ relations, because the two countries share common interests and face common threats, he remarked.

Iraqi Pantsir-S1 system, source:

Baqeri also quoted the Iraqi commander as saying during the meeting that Baghdad would be exercising stricter control on the United States’ military presence on its soil.

The American forces are only there to train Iraqi forces and their activities are under the Iraqi Army’s oversight, he stated.

Ghanimi arrived in Tehran as part of a delegation accompanying Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi. On Saturday, the delegation met with Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani.

Commentary by The Iranian

Analysis from SouthFront: The Iraqi Air Defense Force lost all of its equipment in the 2003 US-led invasion. Now the force relays only on 24 Russian-made Pantsir-S1 and 8 US-made TWQ-1 Avenger air defense systems. These systems don’t cover Iraq airspace and can’t intercept targets flying at high altitude. This explains the importance of the new agreement with Iran, which could boost the Iraqi Air Defense Force capabilities.

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