The commander of an Iranian paramilitary force met with Iraqi political candidates in Baghdad last week, but no one really knows why and the meeting has largely been kept secret.
Gholamhossein Gheybparvar, the commander of Iran’s Basij Force, and the Iranian ambassador to Iraq met with members of the Fatah Alliance – an Iraqi political coalition that was formed to run in the 2018 elections.
Most of the people in the alliance are people who were in the Iran-backed Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), a militia that fought in the Syrian Civil War.
A anonymous source told Al Arabiya that the meeting discussed Ahmad al-Asadi, a candidate in the upcoming election who has strong ties to paramilitary force. Asadi, who is already an elected member of parliament from Baghdad, served as a spokesperson for the PMU, but cut his ties prior to announcing his bid for re-election.
This does not mean that Asadi is no longer affiliated with the Iran-backed PMU. It is merely a requirement by the governing body that is overseeing the May vote, which does not want militia-linked politicians running.
The reason is that they fear that these politicians would do the bidding of the Iranian Regime, rather than the Iraqi people.
The source, who could not speak on the record for fear of persecution by the Regime or the PMU, said that the meeting also discussed how to pressure Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi about allowing Asadi’s to return to the PMU.
The meeting ended with an agreement to appoint Asadi as media advisor to the PMU, if he accepts the position, even though electoral laws prevent military candidates from running.
This has obviously sparked fears that the Iranian Regime will interfere in the Iraqi elections in order to suit the own agenda, as they do across the Middle East.
Political analyst Ahmad al-Khafaji said: “The presence of Gheybparvar and the Iranian ambassador in such meetings confirm that Iran has plans to interfere further in Iraqi politics.”
Khafaji went on to say that Iran’s pressure on Abadi goes far beyond allowing Asadi to run despite his links to the PMU and that it has now “reached to the extent of interference in Iraqi domestic and foreign policies, but Abadi and his team have refused intervention on several occasions and deal with Iran as required by Iraq’s interests.”
This type of regional interference was something that Donald Trump mentioned in his January speech on the Iran nuclear deal and why it is not in the security interests of the US.
Source » ncr-iran