Iran, March 14, 2019 - Following the three-day visit of Hassan Rouhani, the president of the regime in Iran, to Iraq recently, even members of his own faction back in Iran are questioning the credibility of the claims made about this visit helping Tehran bypass U.S. sanctions.
“If we seek to use Iraq as a tool to circumvent sanctions, the U.S. will read our hand because they have made long-term investments in Iraq and will not easily allow Iran to pull Iraq into its own circle,” said Fereydoon Majlessi, a former Iranian diplomat considered close to Rouhani’s point of views. This former diplomat reiterates, “It is not up to Iraq or others to always act as we wish.”
“Security collaboration leads to confrontations and it may lead to various Iraqi sects revolting and we must not provide them with any excuses,” he added, reiterating the latest interferences by the regime’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) Quds Force in Iraq.
Ali Bigdeli, known as a regime insider, sheds more light on this matter.
“The current atmosphere, and the circumstance prior to [Rouhani’s visit to Iraq], an Iraqi official made it known in his remarks to a foreign news agency. They are unhappy with [Iran’s] influence in Iraq and are seeking to decrease this pressure… The United States, as seen in previous years, does not wish to see Iraq get any closer to Iran. Therefore, the U.S. strategy in Iraq and Syria is a new strategy with a comprehensive focus on preventing [Iran] from gaining more influence in these two countries,” he explained.
Salman Afshar, the regime’s former diplomat in Azerbijan, portrayed a dark image of Tehran’s future meddling in Iraq, especially considering the United States’ regional policies and a special focus on the mullahs’ threats.
“Washington has reached this conclusion that by remaining in Iraq and preventing their decreasing influence, the central government in Baghdad will be influenced to prevent Iran’s reach in Iraq, and so forth in Syria. In fact, the United States believes the key in containing [Iran] in Syria and the region lies in Iraq, and containing [Iran] in Iraq will lead to its containment in Syria and the entire Middle East… Resolution 598, despite the passage of around 30 years from its adoption and the end of the [Iran-Iraq] war, and also 16 years after the fall of Saddam, remains just in writing and has not been implemented. [Iran] has not been able to retrieve its compensation from Iraq whereas during the past few years Kuwait has received around $47 billion from Iraq in compensation. However, no money has been paid to [Iran] and there have been no discussions in this regard.”