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International aid to combatants in the Iran–Iraq War

During the Iran–Iraq War, Iraq received large quantities of weapons and other material useful to the development of armaments and weapons of mass destruction.



Military supportEdit

Iran was backed by the Kurdish militias of KDP and PUK in North Iraq, both organizations in fact rebelling against Iraqi Ba'athist government with Iranian support.

Logistic supportEdit

Iran's foreign supporters gradually came to include Syria and Libya, through which it obtained Scud missiles.[citation needed] It purchased weaponry from North Korea and the People's Republic of China, notably the Silkworm anti-ship missile.[citation needed] It also acquired arms from Portugal,[citation needed] notably after 1984. It also acquired propellants and other weapons related components from Spain and Portugal.[citation needed] The United States also provided covert support for Iran through Israel, although it is debated as to whether U.S. President Ronald Reagan actually ordered the sale of weapons to Iran. Most of this support included TOW missiles.[1]


Military supportEdit

Iraq was supported by the Mujaheedin-e-khalgh, an armed group of Iranians opposing the Islamic Republic of Iran. The Mujaheedin-e-khalgh usually engaged the pro-Iranian Kurdish forces in the North of Iraq, close to the Iranian border.

Logistic supportEdit

Iraq's army was primarily equipped with weaponry it had previously purchased from the Soviet Union and its satellites in the preceding decade. During the war, it also purchased billions of dollars' worth of advanced equipment from France, the People's Republic of China, Egypt, Germany and other sources.[2][better source needed] Iraq's three main suppliers of weaponry during the war were the Soviet Union followed by China and then France.[3] It also acquired substantial arms from Portugal.[citation needed]

The United States sold Iraq over $200 million in helicopters, which were used by the Iraqi military in the war. These were the only direct U.S.-Iraqi military sales. At the same time, the U.S. provided substantial covert support for Saddam Hussein. The CIA directed non-U.S. origin hardware to Saddam Hussein's armed forces, "to ensure that Iraq had sufficient military weapons, ammunition and vehicles to avoid losing the Iran-Iraq war."[4] And "dual use" technology was transferred from the U.S. to Iraq.

Germany and United Kingdom also provided dual use technology that allowed Iraq to expand its missile program and radar defenses.

According to an uncensored copy of Iraq's 11,000-page declaration to the U.N., leaked to Die Tageszeitung and reported by The Independent, the know-how and material for developing unconventional weapons were obtained from 150 foreign companies, from countries such as West Germany, the U.S., France, UK, and the People's Republic of China.[5]

Iraq's main financial backers were the oil-rich Persian Gulf states, most notably Saudi Arabia ($30.9 billion), Kuwait ($8.2 billion) and the United Arab Emirates ($8 billion).[6]

The Iraqgate scandal revealed that an Atlanta branch of Italy's largest bank, Banca Nazionale del Lavoro, relying largely on U.S. taxpayer-guaranteed loans, funneled $5 billion to Iraq from 1985 to 1989.

Countries which supported either combatantEdit

Country Support to Iraq Support to Iran
  Argentina Sales of uranium and arms
  Austria Sales of self-propelled artillery pieces[7] Sold 140 GHN-45 Howitzers along with significant stocks of ammunition[8]
  Belgium Sold jet engines for F-4 Phantom aircraft.[8]
  Brazil Sale of ammunition, armoured cars, and tactical multiple rocket launcher[9][10] Major supplier (Sold 500 Cascavel and Urutu armored vehicles)[11]:9[8]
  Canada Sales of war materiel[7]
  People's Republic of China Some financial support and military exports[12] Sale of military equipment, including fighter aircraft, surface-to-air missiles, rocket launchers, tanks, and artillery[13]
  Denmark Sales of military equipment[7]
  Egypt Military exports[14]
  Ethiopia Sold 12 F-5 Tiger IIs[8]
  France Sale of high-tech military equipment and uranium[15] Covert sales of large quantities of artillery shells (delivered 500,000 155mm and 203mm shells)[8]
  East Germany Sale of high-tech military equipment [7]
  West Germany Sale of high-tech military equipment[16] Chemical warfare defense equipment[17]
  Hungary Sales of war materiel[7]
  Israel Clandestine support
  Italy Several billion dollars in funding; sale of land and sea mines as well as uranium[15] Sale of land and sea mines[18]
  Japan Engineering equipment such as trucks, caterpillars and bulldozers etc. Engineering equipment such as trucks, caterpillars and bulldozers etc.
  Jordan Acted as main supply line
  Netherlands Sales of Chemical Warfare defense equipment.[8]
  North Korea Sold domestically-produced arms; acted as an intermediate for covert sales by the Soviet Union, Soviet satellites, and China
  South Korea Sold 12 F-4 Phantom IIs as well as spare parts, artilleries such as KH-179, and other heavy weapons.[8]
  Kuwait Financial support and conduit for arms sales[19][20]
  Libya Armaments, munitions and ballistic missiles.
  Pakistan Sold shoulder-launched surface-to-air missile; unaccountable and covert financial support for Iran by Pakistan
  Poland Sales of military materiel[7]
  Portugal Sale of uranium and arms[15] Sale of ammunition and explosives[11]:8
  Qatar Initial support,[21] though not openly[22]
  Romania Sales of military materiel[7]
  Saudi Arabia $20 billion in funding
  Singapore Provided chemical warfare precursors; acted as a transshipment point for weapons; was manufacturing site of foreign-designed weapons
  South Africa Sale of military armament (200 G5 155mm Artillery systems)[23] 30 G5 155mm Artillery systems[8]
  Soviet Union Military equipment and advisors Covert military equipment sales
  Spain Sale of conventional and chemical weapons, especially ammunition and explosives[24] Sale of weapons, especially ammunition and explosives[11]:8[24]
  Sudan Sent troops to fight alongside Iraqi troops[25]
  Syria Armaments, munitions and ballistic missiles.
  Sweden Covert sales of RBS-70 surface-to-air missile system, facilities/equipment/explosives/materiel for local weapons manufacturing, and fast-attack boats.[8]
   Switzerland Sales of war material and Sales of chemical warfare equipment[7] Chemical Warfare defense equipment[17] Delivered 15 PC-6 propeller utility aircraft and 47 PC-7 propeller training aircraft, as well as Cryptology equipment, large quantities of ammunition, and electronic components for radars.[8]
  Turkey Sales of arms. Sales of arms.
  United Arab Emirates Financial aid[19][26]
  United Kingdom Weapons-related equipment and ‘Sodium cyanide for chemical weapons and plutonium and gas spectrometers’ Sales of Chemical Warfare defense equipment.[8]
  United States Several billion dollars worth of economic aid; the sale of dual-use technology and non-U.S. origin weaponry; military intelligence; Special Operations training Secret arms sales (Iran-Contra affair)
  Yugoslavia Weapons sales (more than $2 billion worth)[27]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "REAGAN CALLS ISRAEL PRIME MOVER IN IRAN-CONTRA". The Washington Post. 1990-11-05. Archived from the original on 2018-08-09. Retrieved 2018-08-08.
  2. ^ Timmerman, Kenneth R. The Death Lobby: How the West Armed Iraq. New York, Houghton Mifflin Company, 1991.
  3. ^ "Sources used in compiling the database". Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. Archived from the original on 2007-07-14.
  4. ^ "Statement by former NSC official Howard Teicher] to the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida. [ Plain text version" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2012-04-24. Retrieved 16 July 2017. External link in |title= (help)
  5. ^ Paterson, Tony. Leaked Report Says German and US Firms Supplied Arms to Saddam Archived 2008-12-11 at the Wayback Machine The Independent. December 18, 2002.
  6. ^ "Iraq debt: non-Paris Club creditors". Archived from the original on 2017-10-12. Retrieved 16 July 2017.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h "Wayback Machine" (PDF). 1 June 2004. Archived from the original (PDF) on 1 June 2004. Retrieved 16 July 2017.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2017-09-15. Retrieved 2017-09-15.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^ Schmidt, Rachel (1991). "Global Arms Exports to Iraq, 1960–1990" (PDF). Santa Monica, CA: RAND's National Defense Research Institute. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2013-05-14. Retrieved 2013-08-21.
  10. ^ "Astros II Artillery Saturation Rocket System". Army Technology. Net Resources International. Archived from the original on 2013-08-31. Retrieved 2013-08-21.
  11. ^ a b c "The Combination of Iraqi offensives and Western intervention force Iran to accept a cease-fire: September 1987 to March 1989". The Lessons of Modern War – Volume II: Iran-Iraq War (PDF). Center for Strategic and International Studies. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2013-06-07. Retrieved 2013-08-21.
  12. ^ Bahadori, Mazi (2 May 2005). "The History and Politics of the Iran-Iraq War" (DOC): 25. Archived from the original on 2013-09-27. Retrieved 2013-08-21. University of California, Berkeley Department of History
  13. ^ Garver, John W. (2006). China and Iran: Ancient Partners In A Post-Imperial World. Seattle: University of Washington Press. pp. 72, 80–81. ISBN 9780295986319.
  14. ^ Hendelman-Baavur, Liora (20 May 2009). "Iran-Egypt Relations". Iran Almanac. Archived from the original on 2016-10-09. Retrieved 7 November 2012.
  15. ^ a b c The Research Unit for Political Economy. "The Iran-Iraq War: Serving American Interests". History of Iran. Iran Chamber Society. Archived from the original on 2012-04-24. Retrieved 7 November 2012.
  16. ^ Timmerman, Kenneth R. (1992). The Death Lobby: How the West Armed Iraq. London: Fourth Estate. ISBN 978-1857020311.
  17. ^ a b "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2013-06-07. Retrieved 2013-08-21.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  18. ^ "Italy". Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor. International Campaign to Ban Mines. Archived from the original on 2012-08-06. Retrieved 7 November 2012.
  19. ^ a b Pike, John (ed.). "Iraq debt: Non-Paris Club Creditors". Archived from the original on 2006-11-22. Retrieved 2007-02-01.
  20. ^ Anthony, John Duke; Ochsenwald, William L.; Crystal, Jill Ann. "Kuwait". Encyclopædia Britannica. Archived from the original on 2013-10-12. Retrieved 2013-08-21.
  21. ^ "Brief History of Qatar". Heritage of Qatar. Archived from the original on 24 October 2012. Retrieved 7 November 2012.
  22. ^ Vatanka, Alex (22 March 2012). "The Odd Couple". The Majalla. Saudi Research and Publishing Company. Archived from the original on 2014-11-29. Retrieved 7 November 2012.
  23. ^ Rajaee, Farhang (1997). Iranian perspectives on the Iran-Iraq war. Gainesville, Florida: University Press of Florida. ISBN 9780813014760.
  24. ^ a b El camino de la libertad: la democracia año a año (1986) [The Path of Liberty: Democracy Year to Year] (in Spanish). El Mundo. pp. 27–32.
  25. ^ Berridge, W. J. "Civil Uprisings in Modern Sudan: The 'Khartoum Springs' of 1964 and 1985", p. 136. Bloomsbury Academic, 2015
  26. ^ "United Arab Emirates". Encyclopedia of the Nations. Archived from the original on 2013-06-16. Retrieved 7 November 2012.
  27. ^ "Yugoslavia Arms Sales". Environmental News and Information. Archived from the original on 2013-08-07. Retrieved 7 November 2012.

External linksEdit