Tehran Reportedly Arms Iraqi Militias ‘To Have Backup Plan If Iran Attacked’

The report comes amid increasing tensions between Tehran and Washington that started after the latter abandoned the Iran nuclear deal and re-imposed economic sanctions against the Islamic Republic. The US insists that a new deal, hindering Iran’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs must be reached.

Tehran has been supplying its Shi’ite allies in Iraq with short-range ballistic missiles and means of their production over the last several months, Reuters reported on August 31, citing anonymous sources among Iranian officials, Iraqi and western intelligence. According to the media outlet, the reason behind the move was to build up its deterrence capacity in the event of an attack.

“The logic was to have a backup plan if Iran was attacked. The number of missiles is not high, just a couple of dozen, but it can be increased if necessary,” an anonymous senior Iranian official said.

One anonymous western source, interviewed by Reuters, said that the alleged arming was a warning to the US and Israel after the latter carried out airstrikes on purported locations of Iranian troops in Syria. Iraqi and Iranian sources said that the decision was made 18 months ago, but the process ramped up only recently.

According to the report, Iraqi allies of Iran have been trained to produce and launch ballistic missiles. At least two factories, one in al-Zafaraniya and one in Iraqi Kurdistan, were reportedly used for that purpose. According to one of the…

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