Iraq has issued a warning to Israel that, if Jerusalem elects to use Iraqi airspace to conduct an aerial strike on Tehran’s nuclear facilities, Baghdad will respond appropriately.
“We have also warned Israel that if they violate Iraqi airspace, they will have to bear the consequences,” said Hussein al-Shahristani, deputy prime minister responsible for energy affairs of Iraq, in an interview with the AFP news agency, according to Israel National News.
The official clarified that America had already promised not to use Iraqi airspace if it were to attack Tehran.
“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 explained, according to the reports.
However, a position paper recently published by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy has shown that its naval vessels in the Persian Gulf would enable the United States to attack Iran’s facilities without encroaching on Iraqi territory, the Times of Israel reported.
The warning is significant in that Iraqi airspace provides the most direct route to a possible strike on Iran’s facilities, Israel National News reported.
Al-Sharistani clarified that the warning had already been relayed to Israel “through countries that they have relations with,” according to said report. Iraq and Israel do not have any direct diplomatic ties, according to the Jerusalem Post.
The official refused to detail the nature of the Iraqi response if Israel were to trespass onto its airspace in advance, for fear Israel would equip itself.
“Obviously, Iraq wouldn’t be disclosing its reaction, to allow Israel to take that into account,” he said, according to Israel National News.
Iran claims its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, but it is widely believed to be developing nuclear weaponry.