On September 1, Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman, Bahram Qasemi, denounced a report of the Reuters news agency, which claimed that Iran had given “ballistic missiles” to the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units (PMU). The Iranian diplomat called these claims “fabricated and nonsense.”
“Such news merely is to cause panic among countries in the region and are in line with their policy to spread Iranophobia … They seem to target Iran’s foreign relations mainly with its neighbors,” Qasemi said, according to the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA).
Reuters’ report, which was released a day earlier, was also denied by an unnamed Iraqi official who told the London-based al-Hayat newspaper that the PMU has only locally-made rockets with a range of 50km.
“Such reports are not precise. There is a mistake in what has been said. The missiles are produced by Hashd al-Shaabi [PMU] and they were unveiled during ceremonies to celebrate victory over the ISIL [ISIS],” al-Hayat quoted the Iraqi official as saying.
In its report, Reuters said that Iran had deployed missiles in Iraq in order “to deter attacks on its interests in the Middle East and to give it the means to hit regional foes.” The news agency noted that Iraqi and Western officials confirmed its information.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Twitter that he is “deeply concerned” over Reuters’ report. This statement was viewed by observers as an attempt to use the report as a mean to pressure Iran, without verifying the information in it.