Iranian FM Expected in Baghdad
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif will reportedly visit Baghdad on Friday amid plans by Iraqi Speaker Mohammed al-Halbusi to travel to Tehran soon.
Zarif seeks to inform Iraqi officials about Tehran’s vision on the future of its conflict with Washington, mainly after the US and Iran accepted that Baghdad plays the role of mediator following a request made by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on his recent trip to the country, informed Iraqi sources said.
Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi recently said that delegations would visit Iran and the US to play a mediating role between the two sides.
Sources also said that Halbusi would visit Iran soon to explain the Iraqi point of view from the current crisis.
However, no official statement was made by the Speaker’s office to confirm or deny the visit.
Iraqi leaders and officials have converging viewpoints from Iraq’s decision to balance its relations with regional rivals and mediate between Iran and the US.
Former Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said Baghdad should not be shoved into the current conflict between Washington and Tehran. However, leader of the Iraqi National Alliance for Reform and Reconstruction Ammar Al-Hakim called for the government to take on a mediating role, arguing that the consequences of a confrontation between Tehran and Washington will be dire for his country.
“The problem is where our priorities should be in this. We cannot stand with Iran by sacrificing the interests of Iraq,” Abadi told Al Sharqiya television this month.
However, Hakim said: "We are very aware of the dangers that surround Iraq as a result of the US-Iran conflict.”
Dr. Naim Al-Aboudi, a member of the parliamentary Foreign Relations Committee, told Asharq Al-Awsat, “Iraq is able to play a mediation role in the current crisis because Baghdad holds good relations with the two sides.”
He said it is in the interest of Iraq that no war takes place in the region.