Iranian Delegation in Iraq Tries To Bridge Maliki-Sadr Divide

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Iranian political figures close to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad are in Iraq to help mend the gap that developed between Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, writes Zaidan Rabihi. The two have been at odds after Sadr joined an alliance that aims to oust Maliki from power.

Sources in Iraq’s media and political scene said that an Iranian delegation with figures close to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and experts in political and social affairs arrived in Baghdad on Sunday [July 1] evening in an unannounced visit. The delegation’s aim is to bridge the gap between Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.

According to these sources, the Iranian delegation is also trying to bridge divergent point of views between Maliki and Sadr. They are trying to organize a meeting between the two to break the ice after Sadr allied himself with the Iraqi List and the Kurdistan Alliance in an attempt to withdraw confidence from Maliki.

It should be noted that Sadr has largely backed down from the position of withdrawing confidence from Maliki. Some observers point out that Iran has exerted a lot of pressure on Sadr to force him to back down from his original goal of withdrawing confidence from Maliki.

On the other hand, the president of the Iranian Shura Council, Ali Larijani, said on Monday [July 2] that the various Iraqi factions will guarantee that the country overcomes the current sensitive regional situation by promoting its unity and cohesion. The factions will also avoid any actions that promote discord and tension.

Nawshiran Mustafa, the head of the Goran (Change) movement in Iraqi Kurdistan, was recently received by Larijani. The official Iranian news agency IRNA reported that during this reception, Larijani referred to the sensitive regional developments and stressed the need to “support and strengthen unity and solidarity throughout the Iraqi political spectrum.” He added that the current political system in Iraq was achieved through the unity and cooperation between the various Kurdish, Shiite and Sunni parties. Larijani also emphasized the need to “resolve the current problems and dilemmas on the basis of understanding and cooperation.”

Larijani declared that Iraq can transform its current regional threats into opportunities for improving the country’s regional status by having a strong central government and national unity. He pointed to the good relations between Iran and the Iraqi parties and said that Tehran has consistently supported Iraq’s development and reconstruction and its role in regional developments.

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