US: Iraq needs to do more to prevent Iran from sending weapons,fighters to Syria

February 5, 2014 22:39


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WASHINGTON - The Iraqi government needs to do more to prevent Iran from flying weapons and fighters through its airspace en route to Syria, a US official told lawmakers on Wednesday.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has been accused by the United States of allowing Iran to fly planes through Iraqi airspace and send support to bolster Syrian President Bashar Assad, whom Washington blames for a nearly three-year-old civil war that has killed more than 130,000 people.

"The issue of overflights is something where the Iraqis have not done enough," the State Department's Brett McGurk said at a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing.

"We continue to press this issue. Inspections go up, inspections go down. It's very frustrating," he added.

His comments come as the Obama administration is seeking to expedite delivery of a range of US weaponry to Maliki's government as it fights a resurgent militant threat.

Both Iraq and Iran have Shi'ite Moslem majorities, and Maliki's Shi'ite-led government has maintained close ties with Tehran before and after US forces left Iraq in 2011.

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