Iraq resumed talks with Russia to purchase S-300 surface-to-air missile systems, senior Iraqi lawmaker says Recount state news agency RIA Novosti following the US assassination of a senior Iranian commander and Iran’s retaliatory missile strikes there.
Meanwhile, flamboyant lawmaker Vladimir Zhirinovsky urged Iran will buy Russia’s advanced S-400 missile systems amid heightened tensions with Washington.
“I told the Iranian leadership to buy our more powerful S-400 and S-500 missile defense systems and to open air, naval and land bases like in Syria,” Zhirinovsky said, quoted by the agency. TASS official press release.
Iraq several months ago “renewed negotiations on an S-300 contract” with Russia, Mohammad Reza al-Haider, chairman of the Iraqi parliament’s defense committee, told RIA on Thursday.
Previous talks – after suspected Israeli strikes on Iran-linked targets in August – were suspended due to threats of US sanctions, he said. The manufacturer of the S-300 is matter American and European sanctions.
“We expect the United States to step back on this issue,” al-Haider told RIA.
Al-Haider said he did not know what stage the Russian-Iraqi negotiations had reached, but noted that the leaders in Baghdad authorized the purchase of the S-300.
Iraq has expanded its defense cooperation with Russia in recent years with increased purchases of Russian planes and tanks.
Iran fired missiles on Wednesday at bases in Iraq where US troops were stationed in retaliation for the murder of Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani in a US drone strike in Baghdad on January 3. US President Donald Trump has said he is authorizing Soleimani’s assassination because the Iranian commander planned to blow up a US embassy.
In August, the Russian ambassador in Baghdad told the speaker of the Iraqi parliament that Moscow was ready to support its initiative by the UN Security Council to expand its air defense capabilities.
An Iranian-linked militia leader visited Moscow in September. Russian air defense systems.
Reuters contributed reporting for this article.