Russia & India Report has posted an article about how M1A1M Abrams tanks and T-72C tanks are being used side by side in the field in Iraq. The article includes an interesting photo which appeared on the internet of the American M1A1M Abrams tank (from the Iraqi armed forces) and the Russian T-72C tank (from the Iranian Shiite army) waging a concerted attack to liberate the Iraqi town of Tikrit, which is being held by the Islamic State (ISIS).
The article notes that most likely the tanks shown in the photo are both part of the Shiite army supported by Iran. The T-72C is the exported modernized version of the T-72 tank. It is 30 years old and is part of the Iranian Armed Forces, the only foreign military that bought this modification. The deal was made back in November 1991 and foresaw the licensed production in Iran of 1,000 T-72Cs. Before the licensing agreement the tanks were exported to Iran directly from the factory. One hundred tanks were sent there in 1993.
In Iraq, the T-72 is a familiar vehicle, having been used by the Iraqi army for decades. However, in February 2013 former Iraqi Defense Minister Lieutenant-General Abdul Qadir Mohammed Jassim Obeidi al-Mifarji’ announced that the army would no longer buy any “Eastern tanks,” since they are “just bombs on caterpillar tracks.” It seems that Iraq may go back to purchasing more T-72 tanks, in particular from the Czech company Excalibur Group. Meanwhile, from 2010 to 2013 the Iranian Armed Forces received 146 M1A1M Abrams tanks from the US Army and in December 2014 the Pentagon announced that Iraq would receive 175 modernized M1A1M Abrams tanks.