Protesters hold a sign belonging to the Iranian consulate building before storming and burning it in Basra, Iraq, Sept. 7, 2018. (AP)

By Esmaeil Mohades

July 31, 2021

“One damn thing after another.” This is what the Iranian regime is facing at an increasing tendency. The miserable situation inside the country, successive crises, the uncertainty surrounding the regime’s nuclear talks with world powers (JCPOA), and the increasing global pressure. Now it is losing its regional sphere of influence and its markets.

Evidence of this is the recent strategic agreement between the United States and Iraq, which seems to have been reached as a result of last week’s talks between the two countries’ foreign ministers in Washington.

If we take a look at the visit of the Iraqi Prime Minister to the United States and the strategic talks for the withdrawal of the US troops from Iraq, which according to the state media analysis is a kind of redefining the American presence in Iraq, its result as the regime’s analysts say is not in favor of the regime and it has frightened the regime.

Iran’s regime has always had a special view of Iraq, relying on its religious and cultural commonalities, as well as Iraqis’ appreciation for Iran’s services, including helping to eliminate the threat of ISIS in many areas as the regime’s elements claimed, in the hope that it will become a friend and brother for this regime in difficult times. And the regime’s officials hoped that the Iraqi government which is under the pressure of its people because of the regime’s malign activities in this country, could easily forget and ignore all these malign behaviors and become an ally to this regime before the US.

A role that experts believe that Iraq will help the regime by delivering money to the regime and circumventing sanctions or open its large market to the regime which is the closest and most accessible.

Now if this regime is not able to give more aids to Iraq as its officials claim, it is natural that the Iraqi government will fill this gap with the US who are now promising many supports to the Iraqi government. And Iran is moving away from Iraq’s foreign policy priorities and is being marginalized. Which is a nightmare for the regime.

Seyed Jalal Sadatian, a so-called Middle East expert affiliated to the regime, about the regime’s loss of influence in Iraq confessed: “Undoubtedly, Iran and the United States are competing for side by side in Iraq.

“For example, Iran had a relatively good base in Najaf, Karbala, and the Shiite areas of southern Iraq, but some currents in Iraq provoked so much that they also chanted slogans against Iran. Even in the matches that were held, in the same stadium that Iran had built, they chanted slogans against Iran.”

He added: “These events show that Iran’s rivals are not inactive and are working hard to eliminate the position that Iran had in Iraq and relied on it to save them in many areas from ISIS. For example, the formation of Hashad al-Shaabi is one of the things that Martyr Soleimani did and increased the Iraqi resistance base to maintain his position and his land.

“Then we see that these things are going in the direction of chanting slogans against Iran and making things difficult for Iran. Now, should we see that Iran’s situation with Iraq, that is, its demands, or that it is said, for example, that Iran should provide water and electricity to Iraq, can be continued according to Iran’s economic conditions?

“When it fails, and on the other hand, tempting offers are made to Iraq and they accept to help financially, build infrastructure, and while Iran is under pressure from sanctions and severe economic weakness, the current situation must have an impact on Iran-Iraq relations.

“But this does not mean that Iran should be expelled in the short term. However, conditions are not good for Iran.” (Nameh, July 26, 2021)

Hojjatollah Judaki, the regime’s expert on international issues, confirmed this situation and in an interview with the Jahan-e-Sanat said:

“The United States will certainly not do anything to its detriment, and this cooperation will certainly strengthen its position. Of course, it can also strengthen the position of the current rulers of Iraq. Since we have a conflict of interest with the United States, this will naturally be to our detriment.”

The conclusion is easy and clear, as the regime’s analysts said, the situation is not in Iran’s regime’s favor, and in the most optimistic case, they can only count on some past cultural backgrounds and collaborations which they are hoping that the Iraqis will not forget.

Iran Focus

About Track Persia

Track PersiaTrack Persia is a Platform run by dedicated analysts who spend much of their time researching the Middle East, in due process we fall upon many indications of growing expansionary ambitions on the part of Iran in the MENA region and the wider Islamic world. These ambitions commonly increase tensions and undermine stability.