Former Qods Force commander Qassem Soleimani (R), Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (L) and Iraqi Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr (C) in Tehran, Sept. 10, 2019. (EPA-EFE)

February 10, 2022

While Iraq’s Coordination Framework, a coalition of Shiite parties, holds meetings to announce a new political initiative, Iran’s Quds Force Commander Esmail Qaani warned head of the Sadrist Movement Moqtada Al Sadr against the resurgence of ISIS amid Iraqi divisions.

Qaani had met with Sadr on Tuesday in the central Iraqi city of Najaf.

Multiple sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that Qaani conveyed Tehran’s fears of “unacceptable consequences” in the event of the disintegration of Shiite forces, including the possibility of “a new invasion of (ISIS) according to a foreign conspiracy.”

A political source who spoke with the team accompanying Qaani said that the Iranian commander assured Sadr that Tehran did not object to the government he wanted to form.

Nevertheless, Qaani stressed that Tehran is rather interested in obtaining realistic guarantees that Iran’s national security will not be threatened.

Mediation efforts continue in Iraq, to bridge the gap between the two largest Shiite blocs that have been at daggers-end since the country’s latest parliamentary elections in October.

One bloc, headed by Al Sadr, swept the polls winning 73 out of 329 seats in the Chamber of Deputies. Challenging those numbers is the Coordination Framework, a coalition of Shiite parties — all former allies of Al Sadr — who claim that they collectively hold the majority of 88 seats, rather than the Sadrists.

A source quoting a member of Qaani’s accompanying delegation said that “not involving the Coordination Framework does not constitute a guarantee against threats to Iran’s national security, because it means an unprecedented Shiite division.”

After meeting with Sadr, Qaani returned to Baghdad in conjunction with talks held by the Coordinating Framework to announce a new political initiative.

Meanwhile, Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi on Wednesday reiterated his government’s rejection of some parties exploiting political divisions in Iraq to settle scores.

Asharq Al-Awsat

About Track Persia

Track 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.