The United States has warned Iraq, among a number of other countries, of the consequences of extending military cooperation with Russia, and striking deals to purchase advanced weaponry, particularly the S-400 surface-to-air missile defense systems.
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.