Report: Iran sells arms to Iraq after US balks

Iraq will buy almost $200 million worth of light weapons and ammunition from Iran, throwing another potential wrench into delicate nuclear negotiations.

The deal was signed late last year, Reuters reports, after Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki failed to convince U.S. lawmakers to back his offensive against Islamist militants during a visit to Washington. The deal appears to violate a U.N. embargo on arms sales by Iran and could make international talks about Iran's alleged nuclear weapons program more difficult.

“We are launching a war against terrorism and we want to win this war,” al-Maliki spokesman Ali Mussawi told Reuters. “Nothing prevents us from buying arms and ammunition from any party and it's only ammunition helping us to fight terrorists.”

Iran has denied selling arms to Iraq. 

Congress, led by Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), blocked the U.S from selling attack helicopters for several months because of human rights concerns, but balked amid victories by al Qaeda-linked groups. A Shiite lawmaker close to al-Maliki reportedly told Reuters that the arms deal with Iran was meant to signal Iraq's displeasure with the holdup.

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