December 29, 2020
Iran announced Monday the visit of an Iraqi delegation, carrying a message from Prime Minister Mustafa Kadhimi to the Iranian leadership on the militias it backs in Iraq.
Kadhimi’s office has not issued any statement about sending a special envoy to Iran, but reports said the Iraqi delegation is headed by Abu Jihad al-Hashimi, who was a key member of former PM Adel Abdul Mahdi’s office.
Observers said Hashimi’s mission mainly includes a request from Tehran to reign in its militias in Iraq.
Last week, pro-Iranian militias were accused of launching a number of rockets on targets in Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone, including the US Embassy compound.
The militias have also increased their warnings to the Iraqi government, the PM and the US.
The visit also comes amid tension in Iraq as Iran commemorates the first anniversary of the killing of former commander of the Quds Force, Qassem Soleimani, in a US drone strike in Baghdad on January 3.
“An Iraqi delegation headed by the prime minister’s advisor arrived in Tehran,” the Iranian FM’s spokesman, Saeed Khatibzadeh, said in a press conference.
Asked whether Iran expects the outgoing administrating of US President Donald Trump to launch a military attack on Iran, Khatibzadeh warned the US against any new adventurism, saying Washington would bear responsibility for any act of mischief.
“We are not looking for tension, but we would defend Iran’s national interests with all our might,” he said.
Commenting on the Iraqi delegation’s visit to Tehran, Yassin Al-Bakri, professor of political science at Al-Nahreen University, told Asharq Al-Awsat that the trip aims to seek the control of pro-Iranian militias and bring them under the authority of the Iraqi state.
He added that if Iran fails to meet this request, then Baghdad would likely increase its pressure on the militias.