Iraq: January 9, 2002


According to the 8 January edition of the Iraqi weekly al-Rafidain, Iraq's foreign minister Naji Sabri would visit Tehran at the end of January to discuss the return of Iraqi aircraft grounded in Iran since the Gulf War. At the time, Iraq moved this assets to avoid them being obliterated by Allied attacks. Iran claimed that only 22 Iraqi planes had landed at that time and would not give them back without the approval of the U.N. Security Council. According to a 1997 Jane's estimate, Iran is holding 15 Il-76, 40 Su-20/22, 24 Mirage F1, seven MiG-23, seven MiG-25 and four MiG-29 Iraqi combat aircraft. This could indicate closer relations between Baghdad and Tehran, since Sabri is also expected to discuss 1980-88 Iraq-Iran war prisoners and MIAs. - Adam Geibel


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