In an effort spearheaded by the Supreme Leader, Iran’s regime has courted Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, on issues such as regional leadership and opposition to an independent Iraqi Kurdistan.
After Ayatollah Khamenei welcomed al-Abadi on Tuesday and set out the Islamic Republic’s key points — notably without the presence of President Hassan Rouhani — Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani pressed Iran’s line on Wednesday.
Larijani implicitly bolstered the increasingly vocal criticism of a Kurdistan referendum, declaring that “the Zionist regime seeks Iraq’s disintegration”. The Speaker even linked the issue to “Takfiri terrorists”, saying that they are creating internal conflicts “to raise the issue of Iraq’s partition, which Israel is seeking” and to occupy Baghdad with domestic issues to undermine its positive role in the region.
“Iran will never play into the hands of countries that deploy terrorists under different pretexts,” Larijani asserted.
On Tuesday, al-Abadi was taken straight from the airport to his audience with Ayatollah Khamenei, who used the occasion for another blasting of the US: ““Do not trust the Americans at all because they seek an opportunity to strike their blow.”
Khamenei said of Iraqi Kurdish independence: “As a neighbor, the Islamic Republic of Iran is against certain murmurs about the holding of a referendum for the separation of a section of Iraq.”
Iran’s long-standing interest in Iraq, and its approach to the region, is facing the dual challenge of a toughter Saudi line — bolstered by President Trump’s visit to Riyadh in late May — and the ISIS-claimed June 7 double attacks in Tehran.
The Supreme Leader and senior military and political officials have escalated their rhetoric against a supposed US-Saudi-Israeli plot against the Islamic Republic, and the Revolutionary Guards fired missiles on Sunday into Syria, the first Iranian airstrikes in the country’s 75-month conflict.
Dropping his foreign policy of “engagement” for the harder line of the Supreme Leader, President Hassan Rouhani marks Quds (Jerusalem) Day on Wednesday:
Today, it happens rarely for Zionists not to have a hand, either behind the scenes or openly, in rifts among regional countries.
It is clear that they support terrorism in the region. Undoubtedly, the split between regional countries and the Muslim world, such as the ones between Iran and Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Saudi Arabia, and Egypt and Turkey eventually benefits global Zionism and usurping Israel.