Iran is using the current upheaval in Iraq to secretly move and stockpile short-range ballistic missiles in its neighboring country, the New York Times reports citing US intelligence and military officials.
“Intelligence officials would not discuss the precise model of ballistic missile Iran has sneaked into Iraq. But short-range missiles have a range of just over 600 miles, meaning that one fired from the outskirts of Baghdad could strike Jerusalem,” the New York Times said in its report.
Both Iraq and Iran have seen widespread protests in recent weeks.
Two US officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told Reuters on Wednesday there was intelligence over the past month indicating that Iran was moving forces and weapons in the region.
It was not clear what specifically Iran was looking to do with the movements, they added.
One of the officials said that part of the concern was Iranian activity inside Iraq, which is experiencing anti-government protests.
The New York Times and Reuters report come after Al Arabiya sources confirmed late last week that Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps - Quds Force, was present in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad after Iraq’s cabinet approved Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi’s resignation.