Tehran-Baghdad Strategic Ties Can Foil Washington’s Anti-Iran Plots in Region

Strategic relations between Iran and Iraq will help thwart the United States’ plans to weaken Tehran’s regional role, according to an analyst. 
Reza Resalat added in an article that by stationing military forces in the region under the pretext of fighting terrorism, the US seeks to reduce Iran’s influence in regional countries, among its other objectives. 
“It also aims to prevent or diminish Iran’s presence in regional markets and help the armed forces of its regional allies achieve superiority,” he wrote in a commentary published by ISNA.   
The US-led coalition invaded Iraq in 2003 and toppled the Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein with the stated purpose of ending his support for terrorism. 
In 2014, Washington intervened again by dispatching forces to the Arab country in response to offensives by the self-styled Islamic State terrorist group.
“Today, Iraqi authorities’ rise to power by people’s direct vote and the popular nature of its government have deepened its friendly relations with Iran and the existing cooperation between the two has improved both countries’ status in the region and the world,” Resalat said. 
According to the expert, Tehran-Baghdad’s constructive cooperation can consolidate their strategic relations. 
“Their mutual trade can grow steadily and improve their economic ties to a favorable level,” he said, adding that political relations will also develop alongside and help address differences more easily.
He also pointed to joint efforts by both countries to defeat the IS, saying cooperation suffered a serious loss by the US assassination of Iranian and Iraqi top commanders. 
The US killed Major General Qasem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis and their companions early January in a drone strike. 
The aggression sparked widespread public protests in both Iran and Iraq against the US. 
Iraqi Parliament later passed a resolution calling on the government to expel foreign troops from the country. 
“Both nations today seek the complete expulsion of US forces as revenge for the assassination of the two commanders,” Resalat said. 
The US has been moving its troops from smaller bases to larger ones and improving its air defense systems instead of leaving. 
Experts say Washington is maintaining its position in Iraq to block all the means through which Iran’s ties could strengthen with Baghdad.
“The fact that Iranian authorities do not have to visit Iraq unnoticed like American officials shows the depth of the two neighbors’ ties and common long-term interests,” Resalat said. 

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