Iran returns military aircraft to Iraq after 20 years

Middle East Monitor — June 23, 2014

Iran Air Force Mig-29 over Tehran. Iraqi Air Force Mig-29s were among many Iraqi planes flown to Iran to escape destruction during the 1991 Persian Gulf War. Iran impounded the planes and pressed some into service in the Iranian Air Force in lieu reparations for Iraq's attacking Iran at the outset of the First Persian Gulf War 1980-1988. Click to enlarge

Iran Air Force Mig-29 over Tehran. Iraqi Air Force Mig-29s were among many Iraqi planes flown to Iran to escape destruction during the 1991 Persian Gulf War. Iran impounded the planes and pressed some into service in the Iranian Air Force in lieu reparations for Iraq’s attacking Iran at the outset of the First Persian Gulf War 1980-1988. Click to enlarge

A spokesman for the Office of the Adjutant General of the Iraqi armed forces has said that his country has returned 130 military aircraft to Iraq, which were held in Iran for more than 20 years. General Qassim Atta explained in a televised press statement that the Iranian authorities have equipped the aircraft with “sophisticated weapons”.

“The planes,” said Atta, “will participate in the battles against ISIS to liberate the city of Mosul from its control.”

Iraq transferred an undisclosed number of fighter and civilian jets to Iran just before the US-led coalition forces launched air strikes in 1991 following the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait.

Groups of Sunni Arabs, led by ISIS, control a number of Iraqi cities in the north, east and west of the country. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki has described those groups as “extremist terrorists”. Sunni figures, however, claim that what is happening is a Sunni tribal revolt against the discriminatory policies pursued by the Shiite government of Al-Maliki.

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