BY PRASHANT RAO ARABNEWS
Tuesday 4 June 2013
BAGHDAD: Baghdad has warned Israel that it would respond to any attempts by the Jewish state to use Iraqi airspace for a strike against Iran’s controversial nuclear program, a top Iraqi minister told AFP.
The remarks from Hussein Shahristani, deputy prime minister responsible for energy affairs, mark the first time a senior Iraqi official has publicly warned Israel against entering its airspace — the most direct route — to hit targets in Iran.
Shahristani also said that Iraq had received assurances from Washington that the United States would not use its airspace to attack Iran, which Western powers believe is trying to develop a nuclear weapon. Tehran has repeatedly denied the claim.
“The (Americans) have assured us that they will never violate Iraqi airspace or Iraqi sovereignty by using our airspace to attack any of our neighbors,” Shahristani said in an interview in his office in Baghdad’s heavily-fortified Green Zone.
“We have also warned Israel that if they violate Iraqi airspace, they will have to bear the consequences.”