Will Tehran’s Iraq Policy Change Under Rouhani?

By Ali Mamouri for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Iraqis welcomed the ascent of moderate candidate Hassan Rouhani in Iran’s recent presidential elections, hoping for a change in Iran’s policy toward Iraq and a stop to its interference in Iraq’s affairs.

Hopes rose further after the Iranian-American rapprochement, as both parties have been playing a key role in drawing the Iraqi political map since 2003.

Iraq’s concerns regarding Iranian policy can be divided into two categories:

First, Iran supports parties it favors to reach power and tries to prevent others from doing the same. The New Yorker suggested that Iran was behind Maliki’s selection as prime minister, particularly his second term, when he came in second in the vote tally after Ayad Allawi’s Iraqiya List.

But parties linked to Iran, particularly Maliki’s party, have shown great failings in administering the state, and have been involved in several corruption cases that lost them many votes in the recent provincial elections.

Second, Iran has supported militias that are trying to impose their authority on society. Those involved in many illegal acts include Asaib Ahl al-Haq and most recently the Mukhtar Army. The latter carried out many operations against a group from Mujahedeen-e-Khalq on Iraqi territory, in the interest of Iran, which approved and praised these operations. Iran considers Mujahedeen-e-Khalq a terrorist group.

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