Pentagon clears Iraq F-16 issue

Despite news out of Baghdad that Iraq is shopping for 36 F-16s, the Pentagon clarified that current discussions are for 18 aircraft only. A Pentagon spokesman said Monday that Iraq’s renewed interest in an F-16 order should result in further negotiations between the U.S. and Iraqi governments after a planned sale of 18 planes initiated last year was put on hold.

“We’re still working on letters of offer and acceptance for 18 F-16s, said Maj. Christopher Perrine, a spokesman for the Department of Defense.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki said Saturday that the government planned to come back to the U.S. government with a request to purchase 36 F-16s.

The Pentagon notified Congress last October of a plan to sell Iraq 18 planes plus weapons, spare parts and equipment for $4.2 billion. But that deal was placed on hold because the Iraqi government did not budget the money.Perrine said that to sell more than 18 aircraft, the Pentagon would have to again notify Congress, which would have 30 days to vote to block a sale.

Source: Star-Telegram

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