Iraq intends to buy S-400 anti-air missile systems from Russia, announced Iraqi Ambassador to Russia Mansour Hadi on 15 May at a press conference, DW reports.
The decision was made during a session of the Russian-Iraqi Commission for Trade, Economic and Scientific Cooperation held in Baghdad on 23-25 April.
Hadi noted that, although the Iraqi government has stated its intention to purchase S-400s, no concrete agreements have yet been reached with Russia.
This step by the Iraqi government could lead to complications in Baghdad’s relations with Washington. When asked whether the US could force Iraq to back down from the deal, Hadi merely pointed out that “diplomatic channels exist for dealing with these problems with the Americans”.
The US has opposed Turkey’s decision to buy Russian aerial defense systems. The US and NATO have repeatedly warned Turkey that the S-400 cannot be integrated into the alliance’s anti-air and anti-missile defense system. At the start of April, Washington announced that it would stop providing Turkey with equipment for F-35 fighters until Turkey pulls out of the S-400 deal.
In November 2018, CNBC reported with reference to sources in US intelligence that several countries had expressed interested in buying S-400s: Algeria, Vietnam, Egypt, Iraq, Qatar, Marocco and Saudi Arabia. In February, US State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert said that a response from the US could be expected if Iraq or other countries decided to buy Russian weaponry.