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9 Jan, 2020 14:45

Baghdad revived deal to buy Russian S-300 following US strikes – Iraq’s Security & Defense Committee chairman

Baghdad revived deal to buy Russian S-300 following US strikes – Iraq’s Security & Defense Committee chairman

Baghdad has reached out to Moscow again after it suffered American bombings on its soil, a high-ranked lawmaker revealed, saying the resumed deal focuses on the time-tested S-300 air defense systems.

The US attacks on Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), known in Arabic as Hashd al-Shaabi, prompted the Iraqi government “to resume negotiations regarding the S-300 deal,” Mohammad Ridha, chairman of Iraqi parliament’s Security and Defense Committee, told Sputnik on Thursday.

The US military have launched the air strikes against the PMU units in late December, blaming them for an attack that killed an American civilian contractor. The Shia militia force, backed by Iran, later said it lost 25 fighters.

It started a vicious chain of events, beginning with fiery anti-American demonstrations near the US Embassy in Baghdad. Though no one from the US diplomatic staff was hurt, the Pentagon responded with brute force, killing a top Iranian general, who they said masterminded the unrest, and ratcheting up tensions around Iran.

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Now, Ridha said he’s unaware of the stage the talks are currently in, but mentioned the deal was greenlighted by Iraqi leadership. In his view, the prospective purchase won’t sit well with the Americans: “We await US opposition on this issue.”

Washington has piled enormous pressure on nations that have bought Russian-made air defense systems, or considering buying them. Turkey has been targeted with an array of US penalties for procuring the S-400, while India, another prospective operator of the system, faces similar ramifications.

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