(Persia Digest) – Former Middle East Director General of the Iranian Foreign Ministry believes: “Under the circumstances, Iraq is not empowered to mediate between Iran and the US or certain other Arab countries in the region. The Iraqis are simply trying to show all parties they are interested in keeping on friendly terms with all regional countries and the US to prevent the eruption of further crises in their country.”
On a 3-day visit to Iraq, Hassan Rouhani met with this country’s authorities and signed a number of agreements and MoUs. Two days earlier, former Iraqi Prime Minister, Ayad Allawi, had asked the government to try and ease tensions between Iran and the US. Trump has also declared that he will use Iraq as a base to keep an eye on Iran.
What is the importance of the Iranian President’s trip to Iraq at this point in time?
Former Middle East Director General of the Iranian Foreign Ministry believes, Ghasem Mohebali, told Persia Digest (PD): “Hassan Rouhani traveled to Iraq six years after taking office. As such, this is important from a number of aspects. The fact that he was unable to travel to one of Iran’s most important neighboring countries during his tenure is also an indication that discussions on various levels were underway between the authorities of both countries to prepare for this trip.”
He added: “Rouhani’s presence in Baghdad shows that obstacles have been removed. But the Iraqis don’t seem inclined to get caught in the disputes between the US and Iran. They are trying to keep on the good side of both parties and other countries in the region like Turkey and Saudi Arabia. Thus, Trump’s claims do not hold significant sway.”
Speaking about the possibility of Iran mediating between Tehran and Washington, he reiterated: “I don’t believe this country is in a position for such mediation. Issues between the US and Iran are too great and must be resolved either through direct talks or direct mediation by big powers in the EU. I believe Ayad Allawi is saying that Iraq will not act against either one.”
Regarding the possibility of Iraq going for compromise between Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE, Mohebali said: “This is also true for other regional countries. Iraqi officials do not wish to get involved in disputes and take their country to the brink of crisis once again. It is also not in Iraq’s power to get involved. They are currently simply focusing on friendly relations between all parties.”
Commenting on Brian Hook’s remarks regarding Iran wanting to turn Iraq into one of its provinces, he reiterated: “These remarks are made within the policies of the anti-Iran psychological warfare. The US is also putting pressure on Iraq to show this country that it must consider US interest in its relations with Iran.”
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