An Iranian delegation arrived in Baghdad last week to pressure the Iraqi government to recognize that General Qassem Soleimani, who was assassinated in 2020, was an official guest of Iraq, Iraqi sources reported.
According to the sources, the delegation included diplomats and jurists from Tehran, all of whom were commissioned by Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian.
They exerted great pressure on the government of Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia' al-Sudani to issue an official document recognizing that Soleimani was an official guest of Iraq when he was assassinated at dawn on January 3, 2020, sources told Asharq Al-Awsat.
The Iraqi government asked its experts to study the request and figure out a way to issue the document without angering Washington.
Shiite parties backing al-Sudani’s government fear that Soleimani’s case will affect Baghdad’s relationship with the US, which they see as “necessary for the stability of the prime minister’s position.”
Former Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi, two days after Soleimani’s assassination, affirmed that he was slated to meet the slain Iranian general. He said Soleimani was meant to deliver an Iranian response to a letter from Saudi Arabia regarding truce negotiations in the region.
Sources close to the government offices claimed that al-Sudani wants to please the US and Iran at the same time, and this pushes him to search for a compromise regarding Soleimani’s file.
Moreover, sources pointed to Iraqi officials’ shock at “the Iranian rush regarding the recognition, especially its political timing.”
Pro-Iranian Shiite parties are not enthusiastic about Tehran’s demand. Even the leader of the Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq movement does not now want a confrontation with Washington, sources affirmed.
An Iraqi legal expert, who requested anonymity, said that the request indicates Iranian intent to draft a judicial file based on violating Iraq’s sovereignty in accordance with international law. Tehran wants to accuse Washington of assassinating a figure who was labeled an official guest.
This will lead Iraq, according to the expert, to be a binding party in bringing any lawsuit before the international courts against the US.