(Persia Digest) – Former Iranian Ambassador to Iraq says: “The news of Iraq's mediation in relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia at the same time as Adel Abdul Mahdi's visit to Tehran is a classic rumor which also spread earlier when Barham Salih came to Iran. Only bilateral issues were discussed during the Iraqi Prime Minister’s trip and there was no talk of mediation.”
The Iraqi Prime Minister, Adel Abdul Mahdi, landed in Tehran on Sunday at the helm of a political-economic delegation. The trip took place less than a month after President Hassan Rouhani’s trip to Iraq. The Iraqi President, Barham Salih, had traveled to Iran earlier and the foreign ministers of both countries had also met together. During Adel Abdul Mahdi's presence in Iran, certain media reported the possibility of mediation by Iraq between Tehran and Riyadh.
Why the frequency of visits by the officials of the two countries? Does Iraq have the potential to mediate between Iran and Saudi Arabia?
Former Iranian Ambassador to Iraq, Hassan Danaeifar, spoke to Persia Digest (PD) on the subject, saying: “These trips show the strategic importance of ties between the two countries. It is safe to say that no such level of relations existed between Baghdad, Tehran and the two nations at any time since the formation of the Iraqi government after the fall of Saddam.”
He added: “Six million tourists travel between the two countries every year for pilgrimage, tourism, trade and other reasons. Last year, Iraq was the first destination for Iranian exports, 33 percent of which were non-oil goods. Increased visits by their leaders highlights their excellent ties. Iraqi politicians are aware of the importance of relations with Iran. Adel Abdul-Mahdi's visit was in line with their will to fulfill the promises that had been made earlier by the two sides."
Speaking about the possibility of Iraqi mediation by Adel Abdul-Mahdi between Iran and Saudi Arabia, Danaeifar reiterated: “This has turned into a classic rumor; the same question was asked during Barham Salih’s visit to Tehran, following which he also traveled to Saudi Arabia; but he refuted the rumors. Only bilateral issues were discussed during the Iraqi Prime Minister’s trip and there was no talk of mediation.”
About whether Iraq has such a potential, he said: “Asking such a question in effect means ignoring this country’s capabilities. Iraq’s position is very important and it can play a significant role in the region. Its stance in the Arab world has always been important to the IR of Iran who wishes to empower it.”
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