Iran, March 17, 2019 - Despite the Iranian state media’s continuous propaganda claiming the sanctions regime has been neutralized after the recent visit to Iraq by mullahs’ President Hassan Rouhani, some Iranian officials and outlets close to the president are expressing concerns about the increasing siege their faces.
Fararu website, close to Rouhani’s so-called moderate faction, writes: “On Tuesday, in a session of the House Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government, the U.S. Treasury Undersecretary announced the establishment of a new institution under her supervision for Iran.”
“Sigal Mandelker, U.S. Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, said that the goal of the so-called Iran Finance Fusion Cell is to consider ‘new ways to take action against Iran and Iranian-backed illicit actors’,” the website further wrote.
Meanwhile, despite the regime’s efforts of painting Rouhani’s visit to Iraq as a groundbreaking diplomatic move neutralizing it growing international isolation, matters on the ground seem to look different.
Irdiplomacy, an Iranian website close to Rouhani’s faction that specializes in the regime’s diplomatic relations, quoted Iraqi President Barham Saleh saying in a press conference that “Iraq doesn’t want to become a field for regional and international quarrels.”
Following Rouhani’s visit to Iraq, Saudi Arabia’s Okaz newspaper wrote: “What international observers considered a surprise to Rouhani was the Iraqi President’s insistence that his country is neutral in regional and international struggles. ‘We don’t want Iraq to become a regional or international quarrel field’, he specifically said.”
Another outstanding issue between Iran and Iraq is the reparation question from the 1980s war era. While Iranian officials repeatedly claim that Iran will receive reparations amounting to around one trillion dollars from Iraq, an Iranian analyst told the irdiplomacy website: “While [the UN Security Council] resolution 598 reiterates the issue of reparations, there are no specifics about which state should pay them. Since no state and major actor from the Security Council has put the necessary support behind this resolution, Iran was not able to use it as a legal dossier for its demands.”
Iran’s former ambassador to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Mohammad Shariati Dahaghan, also considers the regime’s current situation with Iraq delicate.
“We need to understand the Iraqi government’s situation when it raises specific subjects and its limitations when it comes to economic exchanges with Iran,” he says.
Sabah Zanganeh, a prominent politician among the so-called Iranian reformists, and former minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance in Mohammad Khatami’s government, said: “There are very important and far-reaching issues on the borders of the two countries that need attention. Security relations, in the face of threats that have been and are present in the region, need to lead to a legal analysis and political agreement.”
“Monetary and financial exchanges between the two countries also need to reach a clear and acceptable state. The problem of dust storms that come from Iraq to Iran also needs a practical solution,” he further added.
In an interview with Alhurra TV, U.S. Special Representative Brian Hook questioned Rouhani’s “motives” visiting Iraq.
“President Rouhani coming to Iraq is not in the interest of the Iraqi people”, Hook said, warning that the U.S. will sanction “sanctionable activities” anywhere in the world. Currently, the U.S. has given Iraq a six-month waiver to continue buying energy form Iran.
Hook also said that Iran wants to secure a “military highway” through Iraq to the Western parts of the Middle East “that the Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) can use to ferry missiles, weapons and fighters across the Middle East”.