Iranian meddling in Iraq’s affairs is an ‘exaggeration’, says premier Al-Sudani
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Iraqi Prime Minister, Mohammad Shia’ Al-Sudani, on Wednesday described Iranian interference in Baghdad’s affairs as an “exaggeration,” saying the country maintains its independence and rejects any meddling.
Al-Sudani’s remarks came during a conversation moderated by The New York Times reporter, Jane Arraf, at the 7th Suli Forum held at the American University of Iraq Sulaimani (AUIS). Numerous top officials from Iraq and the Kurdistan Region, as well as western academia, and journalists participated at this year’s event.
“There is exaggeration about Iranian interference in Iraqi affairs. Sometimes it is assumed that neither Iraq nor its institutions, politicians, or patriots respect it’s sovereign independence,” Al-Sudani said in response to Arraf’s question whether the Iranian-backed militia groups accept the ongoing presence of non-combatant US forces in Iraq.
As Iraq marks the 20th anniversary of the US-led occupation that had toppled Saddam Hussein in 2003, Baghdad has been seen increasingly coming under Iranian influence with the backing of Shiite militia groups, some of Iraq’s observers and Western officials argue.
Washington and other Western capitals have previously blamed the Shiite militias for launching rockets and attacks on the US diplomatic and military establishments.
Iran has consistently denied any involvement in Iraq’s affairs.
Iran’s top military general, Qassem Soleimani, and his Iraqi comrade were killed by a US drone strike in early 2020. Tehran retaliated by attacking the US bases stationed in Iraq.