Iraq on Iran: 'We Cannot Inspect All Aircraft'

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- Despite U.S. and Western calls for Iraq to inspect Iranian aircraft passing through its airspace en route to Syria, a government spokesman said it's not possible to inspect every aircraft.

Iran is suspected of supplying weapons to Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime.

While each aircraft is "subject to random inspections," Iraq could not inspect every airplane, a spokesman for Iraq's Ministry of Transport said.

"We adopt a mechanism whereby random inspections are carried out for suspicious flights," the London-based Arabic daily Asharq Al-Awsat quoted spokesman Karim Nouri.

"Iraq's airspace is open for planes from several countries, including Iran, Turkey, Kuwait, and others," Nouri added.

Earlier, the paper quoted Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh saying, "Iraq has informed the Iranians that it will inspect suspicious aircrafts," noting "this move is part of the wider policy of neutrality that Iraq is committed to with regard to the Syrian crisis."

According to the report, Syrian opposition forces believe Iran is transporting weapons to Assad's forces through Iraqi airspace.

"We were not in any doubt, but information now confirms that the Syrian regime is using Iraq as a conduit for the transfer of weapons and equipment coming from Iran, which is used in the killing of its own people," Syrian National Council member Ahmed Ramadan said.

"After other crossings were closed off in the face of Iran, it began using Iraqi airspace to transport weapons," Ramadan said, reportedly talking about "an agreement signed by Iraq, Iran, and Syria to allow trucks and planes to pass from Iran to Syria without inspection so that weapons, ammunition and equipment can be transported for the benefit of the al-Assad regime."

Ramadan said the Assad's regime was using Iranian weapons "to murder the Syrian people."

The Syrian National Council, which runs the Syrian Free Army, serves as an umbrella group to the Islamist factions making up the opposition forces, among them the Muslim Brotherhood.

An Associated Press report released Monday said rebel forces are deeply divided.

Canadian diplomat Mokhtar Lamani told The Associated Press there is a "high level of mistrust" among the different factions.

Meanwhile, in his address to the U.N. General Assembly Monday, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Mouallem said some members of the Security Council are supporting terrorism and some countries are interfering in his country's domestic affairs.

Mouallem said calling on Assad to step down "is a blatant interference in the domestic affairs of Syria and the unity of its people and its sovereignty."

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