LATEST: Deputy Head of Armed Forces: US Orchestrating Iraq War by Islamic State


Why a Nuclear Deal May Not Happen — 5 Points & 1 Word (“Centrifuges”)

Iran has warned Iraqi Kurdistan not to declare independence, claiming that Israel is plotting to divide Iraq.

Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham said Saturday that the Iraqi nation will not submit to the disintegration of the country: “Undoubtedly the vigilant Iraqi people will not allow the Zionist regime and enemies of a unified Iraq to carry out their plots and realize their immature fantasies in the region.”

Iranian media linked Afkham’s comments to interviews by Massoud Barzani, the President of Iraqi Kurdistan, promoting a referendum: “Independence must be achieved. I believe now the conditions are also favorable for independence.”

See Iraq Interview: Barzani’s Push for Kurdish Independence — “It is Our Natural Right”

Tehran has provided political and military assistance to Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki as Baghdad faces an insurgency which has taken the cities of Mosul and Tikrit in the past month.

Last Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “We should…support the Kurdish aspiration for independence….(They are) a nation of fighters (who) have proved political commitment and are worthy of independence.”

Deputy Head of Armed Forces: US Orchestrating Iraq War by Islamic State

The deputy chief of armed forces, General Massoud Jazayeri, has repeated that the US is orchestrating the offensive in Iraq by the Islamic State.

Jazayeri said uprisings in Iraq, Syria, and other Middle Eastern countries are not just random measures by terrorist groups but “part of the arrogant system’s strategy to confront the Islamic Awakening”, fueling sectarian and ethnic wars.

“The US seeks to [implement] fundamental changes, weaken regional powers and break resistance in the region,” Jazayeri asserted.

Iran: We Support Maliki’s Party But Open to Change of Iraqi PM

Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said on Sunday that Tehran supports the party of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki in power, but is open to a change of leadership.

Abdollahian said:

The State of Law coalition won first place in the last legislative elections…(and) any decision that is taken in Iraq and has the support of parliament has Iran’s backing.

If Mr Maliki is chosen as prime minister, we will work hard together. If another person is chosen by parliament, the Islamic Republic of Iran will also support them. It’s an internal affair for Iraq.

(Cross-posted from Iraq Daily)

Rafsanjani Calls for Iran-Saudi Cooperation Against Extremism

Former President Hashemi Rafsanjani has called on Iran and Saudi Arabia to cooperate in the fight against extremism in the region.

Meeting in Tehran with the Saudi ambassador to Iran, Rafsanjani said:

Differences among Islamic countries in the region are giving terrorist groups an opportunity to escalate their activities, and this in turn has weakened the Islamic world….

To combat extremism and prevent the growth of ignorance, all Islamic countries must work together, especially Iran and Saudi Arabia, so that they give the impression that they may need foreign powers to protect. their stability and security

Rafsanjani has been used as a channel by the Rouhani Government for better relations with Saudi Arabia, including reported efforts to arrange a visit by Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif or President Rouhani to Riyadh.

However, other Iranian officials have accused Saudi Arabia of supporting extremist groups in Syria and Iraq.

Talks Continue on Drafting of Nuclear Agreement

Negotiations between Iran and the 5+1 Powers on a comprehensive nuclear agreement continued on Saturday in Vienna, with the drafting of a deal by Iranian Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi and the European Union’s deputy head of foreign policy Helga Schmid.

Michael Mann, the spokesman for the 5+1 Powers, offered a brief update via Twitter:

See also Iran Special: Why a Nuclear Deal May Not Happen — 5 Points & 1 Word (“Centrifuges”)