U.S. worried by Iran's stance on Syria

Sept. 6, 2012 at 1:50 PM
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WASHINGTON, Sept. 6 (UPI) -- The U.S. State Department reminded foreign governments of their obligations under Security Council resolutions that aim to prevent the export of Iranian arms.

U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, expressed concern about reports that Iran was using Iraqi airspace to funnel support to the Syrian government.

"For months, Iraq has been helping Iran skirt U.S. and international sanctions and increased cooperation on a variety of levels," she said in a statement. "Yet, despite this clear evidence, the administration has failed to act on this disturbing trend or hold Baghdad accountable."

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki told U.S. lawmakers during a recent visit that Iranian flights to Syria were carrying humanitarian supplies. Washington, he said, hasn't provided any proof of its military claims.

"Until now, there was no evidence from the Americans regarding weapons," a media adviser to the prime minister was quoted by The New York Times as saying this week.

Nevertheless, Patrick Ventrell, a spokesman for the U.S. State Department, said a series of U.N. Security Council resolutions are meant to prevent the export of Iranian weapons.

"All states need to inspect all cargo to and from Iran in their territory if they have information that provides reasonable grounds to believe the cargo contains prohibited items," he said.

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