US, Iranian Influence Evolves in Iraq

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

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki will visit Tehran following the historic agreement that Tehran reached with the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany (P5+1) over its nuclear program.

An Iraqi government source told Al-Monitor on Nov. 24 that Maliki will be visiting Tehran for a few days over the coming weekend, where he will meet for the first time with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and other major figures, including Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

The source, who did not provide many details on the visit, only noted Maliki’s agenda will include issues such as economic and security cooperation between the two countries, the Syrian issue and the agreement to share the Shatt al-Arab river, commonly known as the Algiers Accord.

The timing of Maliki’s visit to Tehran carries a great deal of influence over the course of the talks. The trip comes just weeks after Maliki’s early November visit to Washington, which stirred up controversy and prompted conflicting interpretations of its success, particularly with the ambiguous US stance on Maliki’s third term.

The visit coincides with the agreement between Iran and the P5+1. This historic agreement allows Tehran relief from international pressure on its nuclear program and sets off on a new course with the West. The development reflects a broader trend that emerged with the election of Reformist Rouhani to Iran’s presidency.

The visit is also accompanied by Syrian variables on the ground, to the advantage of the Syrian regime, that precede the arrangements of the Geneva II meeting. This meeting is supposedly to discuss solutions to the Syrian crisis in consideration of realities that have changed since Geneva I, most notably the convergent US-Russian vision of a solution.

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