The Iraqi defence minister is denying that an arms deal with Russia worth more than 4 billion dollars has been cancelled over corruption concerns.
The deal was only signed a month ago.
Earlier an Iraqi government spokesman said the deal was off but the defence minister says it has just been delayed because a report had not been submitted to the anti-corruption committee on time.
“The acting Iraqi defence minister is talking about a deal that probably will go ahead in the future but it’s evident that at present there are some problems,” says Russian military expert Pavel Felgengauer. “It’s not possible to say at this stage if the Americans had any influence so for now it seems more likely that the the problems have arisen over money and how it’s divided, that is to say kickbacks. In this case the amounts could be huge – between half a billion to a billion dollars”.
Russia opposed the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 and has since become one of the biggest suppliers of weapons to the country. It is now the second biggest arms exporter in the world after the USA.