Iraq FM: Country will check Iran flights to Syria for arms

By REUTERS
September 30, 2012 12:36

 
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DUBAI - Iraq will ask Syria-bound Iranian planes passing through its airspace to land for random inspections after Washington said they could be ferrying arms to Damascus, the Iraqi foreign minister said in an interview.

US officials had raised their concerns over the past few days on the sidelines of United Nations General Assembly meetings in New York, Hoshiyar Zebari told the London-based al-Hayat newspaper.

"We have informed Mrs. Clinton (US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton) and US officials that the government plans to bring planes down and conduct random inspections," Zebari said in the interview published on Sunday. He confirmed he was referring to Iranian planes.

The government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, a Shi'ite Muslim, is close to regional Shi'ite power Iran. Iran is one of the main allies of Syrian President Bashar Assad, who follows an offshoot of Shi'ite Islam.

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