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ICC Note:  It is reported that Iran has transferred ballistic missiles to Shi’ite proxy militias in Iraq, increasing concerns that Iran is “turning Iraq into its forward missile base.” One of Iran’s most significant proxy militias in Iraq is the Hashd al-Shaabi, who controls a significant part of the Nineveh Plains, the traditional homeland of Iraq’s Christians. While it’s not known which militia has received the missiles, it is known that Iran’s aggression in the Nineveh Plains remains a significant deterrent for Christians previously displaced by ISIS.

09/03/2018 Iraq (Reuters) –   Iran has given ballistic missiles to Shi’ite proxies in Iraq and is developing the capacity to build more there to deter attacks on its interests in the Middle East and to give it the means to hit regional foes, Iranian, Iraqi and Western sources said.

Any sign that Iran is preparing a more aggressive missile policy in Iraq will exacerbate tensions between Tehran and Washington, already heightened by U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of a 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.

It would also embarrass France, Germany and the United Kingdom, the three European signatories to the nuclear deal, as they have been trying to salvage the agreement despite new U.S. sanctions against Tehran.

According to three Iranian officials, two Iraqi intelligence sources and two Western intelligence sources, Iran has transferred short-range ballistic missiles to allies in Iraq over the last few months. Five of the officials said it was helping those groups to start making their own.

“The logic was to have a backup plan if Iran was attacked,” one senior Iranian official told Reuters. “The number of missiles is not high, just a couple of dozen, but it can be increased if necessary.”

Iran has previously said its ballistic missile activities are purely defensive in nature. Iranian officials declined to comment when asked about the latest moves.

The Iraqi government and military both declined to comment.

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