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US warns against Iran flying weapons to Syria through Iraq

According to the Associated Press, several US senators are in Baghdad speaking with Iraqi leaders about Syria’s weapons supply chain.

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Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, right, and Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki listen during the Non-Aligned Movement summit in Tehran on August 30, 2012. (BEHROUZ MEHRI/AFP/Getty Images)

US senators and Vice President Joe Biden are warning Iraq to close its airspace to what American officials say are Iran’s weapons shipments into Syria.

According to the Associated Press, several senators are in Baghdad speaking with Iraqi leaders about Syria’s supply chain.

Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., said the shipments believed to be taking place threaten Iraq-US agreements and aid packages.

“Bottom line, this kind of problem with these Iranian overflights can make it more difficult to proceed with the Strategic Framework Agreement in the manner that the prime minister and we would like to see happen,” Lieberman said, the AP reported. “So I hope this is cleared up quickly.”

Iraq denied the allegations, saying the shipments are humanitarian aid and said the US needs to prove its accusations.

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After a bombing in Damascus killed many high-ranking Syrian officials, Iran began sending shipments to Syria in earnest, The New York Times reported today.

Flights continued in July after the US pressed Iraq's Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki about the shipments, the Times said.

“The Iranians have no problems in the air, and the Syrian regime still controls the airport,” Hisham Jaber, head of the Middle East Center for Studies and Research in Lebanon, told the Times.

An anonymous source told the Times that Biden has raised the issue with al-Maliki.

"This region is about to explode," Senator Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said alongside Lieberman and John McCain, R-A.Z., in Iraq.

"They're in a pickle here," Graham said, according to the AP.

In fighting today, Assad’s air force bombed rebels in Aleppo as ground troops launched shells, Agence France-Presse said.

Nineteen people – including seven children – died as a result, a human rights watchdog told AFP.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/syria/120905/us-warns-iran-flying-weapons-syria-iraq-airspace