WASHINGTON — Iraq will turn to Iran, Russia and elsewhere for arms and military advice if the Obama administration won’t supply what it needs to halt an al-Qaida splinter group, Iraq’s ambassador to the United States said Tuesday.
Ambassador Lukman Faily said that though Washington is the Iraqi government’s first-choice arms supplier, “we have to choose whoever is available” because of the threat from the militant group the Islamic State.
Iraq would buy arms from Iran, even though purchases from Tehran are prohibited under international sanctions, Faily said in a speech at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
“We will do that … if we can’t get cooperation elsewhere,” he said.
The U.S. administration has sold Iraq missiles, fighter jets and helicopters, but not as many or as fast as Iraq would like. Iraq has bought $10 billion worth of arms from the United States, Faily said.