This article was written by Abeer Mohammed and Anas al-Bdeer, and was originally published by the Institute for War and Peace Reporting, iwpr.net. It is reproduced by Iraq Business News with permission. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.
Reported comments by an Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander boasting of his country’s influence abroad have sparked controversy in Iraq. Analysts say the seriousness with which the incident was taken reflects the huge sensitivities surrounding sovereignty issues after the United States military withdrawal.
Tehran quickly moved to insist that the comments attributed to the commander of the Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force, Qassem Sulaimani, in which he apparently suggested that both Iraq and southern Lebanon were under Iranian control, were badly misquoted.
“These statements are false. They are groundless and meant to achieve crooked aims,” a statement which the Iranian embassy in Baghdad sent IWPR on January 21 said.
The Iranian ambassador to Lebanon, Ghazanfar Roknabadi, said the actual comments Sulaimani made were mistranslated.
“In his original remarks, Brigadier-General Qassem Sulaimani said many countries in the region are inspired by the ideas of the Islamic revolution in Iran,” he told the As-Safir newspaper. “Unfortunately, his words have been deliberately twisted.”