Iraq Resumes Talks With Russia on Purchase of S-300s Amid Mideast Tensions – MP

Iraqi media outlets reported in September 2019 that the country’s authorities had expressed interest in acquiring Russian air defence systems, citing anonymous sources within the government.

Head of the Iraqi Parliament’s Security and Defence Committee Mohammad Reza has stated that the country resumed talks with Russia on the purchase of S-300 air defence systems. According to the lawmaker, the start of negotiations occurred amid attacks on the country’s Shiite Popular Mobilisation Forces.

“The issue was supposed to be solved several months ago after attacks on Shiite militia al-Ḥashd ash-Sha’bi [Popular Mobilisation Forces] bases in Baghdad and other provinces created the need for such air defences”, the lawmaker said.
The defence committee head expects opposition from the US to striking such a deal between Baghdad and Moscow, saying that Washington’s protests were behind the suspension of the initial talks on purchasing S-300s. The committee head opined that the Russian armaments will be more versatile and less expensive than their US analogues.

Reza failed to elaborate at what stage the talks are currently in, since he is not directly involved in them. The lawmaker noted though that the negotiations have been approved by the country’s top officials.

Iraqi media outlets earlier reported in September 2019 that the country’s authorities were seeking to buy Russian S-300 air defence systems. According to these reports, the idea was triggered by US reluctance to provide Iraq with modern air defence armaments.

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