Iraq: Iran cancels Abadi’s visit to Tehran

The visit Iraqi Prime Minister was to pay to Tehran later this week will not take place as planned after Iranian authorities cancelled the trip over the Iraqi leader’s comments that he will abide by U.S. sanctions against the Islamic Republic though he is opposed to such sanctions.

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi was initially expected this week in Turkey and Iran for state visits.

An Iraqi official, who asked not to be named because not allowed to speak on the matter, told the Associated Press (AP) that the Iran leg of the trip will no longer go ahead after Iran cancelled the trip.

Iran was irked by Abadi’s comments that U.S. sanctions on Iran were unfair but that he will however stick to them.

“Can I, the Prime Minister of Iraq, endanger the interests of Iraqis just to take a stand?” he said.

“We don’t sympathize with the sanctions, we don’t think they are appropriate and we don’t interact with them, but we are committed to protect our people.”

U.S. President Donald Trump last week signed the executive order for renewed sanctions against Iran as result of Washington’s withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal.

Trump also warned that companies doing business with Iran cannot do business with the U.S.

Abadi, in power since 2014 has played equilibrium between the U.S. and Iran, which has deepened its influence in the country since the U.S. intervention in 2003.

Abadi’s forces backed a U.S.-led coalition that overcame the Islamic State group (ISIS) in December. Iran-backed Iraqi paramilitary forces also endorsed the Iraqi forces.

The Iraqi leader who is currently leading a caretaker government finished third in May elections with his bloc. He is seeking to retain his position as Prime Minister after entering into alliance with Shia cleric, Muqtada al-Sadr whose joint list came out as larger seats (54) winner. An Iran-backed joint group, which also finished first runner-up with 46 seats, is part of the joint alliance.

The Turkey leg of the trip, which will kicks off Tuesday, will go ahead, the anonymous official said.

Written by