MESOP NEWS “TEHRAN REQUIRES IRAQ AS A PROPERTY” : Tehran Tries to Assert Its Influence in Iraq

31 Oct 2016 – by Scott Lucas – eaworldview – Amid the Iraqi-Kurdish offensive to retake Mosul from the Islamic State, Iran is trying to re-assert its influence in Iraq’s politics.The Iranian regime is concerned that the capture of Mosul, held by ISIS since June 2014, will be to the advantage of the US and Turkey. The US-led coalition is carrying out airstrikes, and American, British, and French special forces are embedded with the Iraqi and Kurdish units.

Turkey is also hoping for involvement, although this has been limited by objections from the Iraqi Government. Iran has warned that Ankara’s military participation would infringe Iraqi sovereignty.Last week the Supreme Leader’s top aide, Ali Akbar Velayati, took Tehran’s messages to Baghdad. On Sunday the emissary was the head of the judiciary, Sadegh Larijani.Meeting Iraq’s Speaker of Parliament, Larijani warned of “a plot hatched by some Western and Arab countries to partition Iraq”.

“We oppose the disintegration of Iraq and insist on Iraq’s unity and independence,” Larijani said in the photo opportunity with Salim al-Jabouri.He asserted that “global powers have always used terrorism and imposed wars on regional nations in an attempt to plunder their assets”.

However, Larjani did welcome the operations to reclaim Mosul. Tehran had been cautious about endorsing the offensive, but on Saturday Iranian-backed Shia militias finally entered the campaign with an advance near Tal Afar, 55 km (34 miles) west of Mosul.The US and its allies have been concerned about any role for the Shia militias, known as the Popular Mobilization Units, amid allegations of sectarianism and abuses of civilians. Washington is also wary of Iran’s leadership of the PMUs.

Iranian media portrayed the Iraqi Speaker’s eagerness for ties with Iran, “standing by each other in the fight against Takfiri terrorism”. He reportedly said Baghdad required more cooperation with Iran in political and social matters.

Iran “All-Out Support for Iraqi Government”

Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Jaberi Ansari reinforced Tehran’s message in a meeting with Iraqi counterpart Nazar Khairallah in Baghdad.  “Iran will continue with its all-out support for the Iraqi government and nation in the fight against terrorism,” Jaberi Ansari said.

He declared that Iran and Iraq “must make joint efforts to find solutions to the ongoing crises and issues in the Middle East”.According to Iranian State media, the Iraqi official said the campaign against terrorism is the most important priority, but also expressed hope that Iraq can “make use of Tehran’s experience in economic and development projects”.