Iran ready to supply weapons to Baghdad as ISIS calls for jihad during Ramadan
Iran's deputy foreign minister told Agence France Presse Tuesday that Tehran is ready to supply weapons to Baghdad if Iraqi leadership asks for help.
In a meeting with his Russian counterpart in Moscow, Hossein Amir Abdollahian told reporters that Iran would "supply the necessary weapons for the fight against terrorism [to Baghdad]" if requested. Abdollahian also added that Tehran would be sending military "consultants" to Baghdad as the ongoing crisis develops, but emphasized that no troops would be sent.
"We have no intention of sending our armed forces in Iraq. Iraq has its own powerful army," said Abdollahian.
Shiite Iran has been a firm backer of the Shiite-led Iraqi government, and has vowed to firmly support Baghdad in combating the rapidly developing Sunni militant offensive led by the jihadist Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS).
ISIS has taken over control of areas in five of Iraq's provinces as well as a border crossing with Syria. ISIS earlier this week announced that it had established a renewed Islamic caliphate in parts of Iraq and Syria.
However, many Islamists in Syria have dismissed the caliphate declaration, saying that such a statement can be used by foreign powers to shift the power balance in the ongoing Syrian conflict in favor of the Assad regime.
ISIS leader, Abu Bakr Baghdadi, who has been declared by ISIS as the new leader --and caliph--of the Muslim world, also urged jihad in his taped Ramadan message Tuesday.
"There is no better effort in this blessed month or any other than jihad in God's path, so embrace this change and champion Allah's religion through jihad," Baghdadi purportedly said in an audio message posted online, as reported by Reuters.