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US requests clarification from Iraq over reports of arms deal with Iran

The US State Department requested clarification from the Iraqi government over media reports claiming that Iraq has signed an arms deal to purchase weapons and ammunition from Iran worth millions of dollars.

State Department spokesperson Jane Psaki commented that if the media reports are true, then this would raise "serious concerns" since the move represents a violation of the United Nations embargo on arms sales by Tehran.

Psaki disputed claims by Iraqi lawmakers that Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki struck the deal with Iran because of US reluctance to deliver arms to his government, pointing out that: "We consider the Iraqi government as a partner in the fight against terrorism. The US has provided Iraqi security forces with more than $15 billion in equipment, services and training."

Amid concerns about disturbing the relations between the US and Iraq, Psaki warned that: "We will not sink into assumptions, of course, but if the deal is true, it would be a serious matter and we will have to assess things."

Reuters reported on Monday that Iran signed a deal at the end of November to sell weapons and ammunition worth $195 million to Iraq.

Al-Maliki's government, considered one of Tehran's closest allies, has been engaged in serious confrontations in Al-Anbar province against Al-Qaeda linked militants in the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, also known as Daash.

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