Iraq foreign minister says can't stop Iran arms flights to Syria

Iraq is unable to stop its neighbour Iran
transferring weapons to Syria through its
airspace, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar
Zebari said in a newspaper interview
published on Saturday.
"We reject and condemn the transfer of
weapons through our airspace and we
will inform the Iranian side of that
formally. But we do not have the ability to
stop it," he told pan-Arab daily Asharq al-
Iran is the main ally of Syrian President
Bashar al-Assad, who is fighting mostly
Sunni rebels in a civil war in which
opposition says more than 100,000
people have been killed.
The United States, which wants Assad to
relinquish power, has warned Iraq not to
allow Iranian weapons flights to cross its
airspace into Syria. But Zebari said he had
told Western countries that if they wanted
to stop such flights, they had to help do
so themselves.
"If you imagine these flights breach
United Nations Security Council
resolutions banning weapons imports and
exports from Iran... I invite you in the
name of the government to help us stop
these flights across Iraqi airspace," he
He said random checks by Iraq on Iranian
aircraft bound for Syria since September
had only found non-lethal aid like
medicines and food.
Iraq is dominated by Shi'ite Muslim parties
with close ties to Tehran, but Zebari said
his country was committed to neutrality
in Syria. Two years of fighting there risks
further destabilising an already fragile Iraq
as Shi'ite and Sunni fighters cross the long
border between the two states.
Zebari said Iraq does not provide any
weapons or money to Syria and, despite
requests from Damascus, does not sell it
crude oil at preferential rates.