PARIS, (AFP) — Tehran is a “dominant player” in Iraq using “all means of diplomacy, intelligence and economy” to get a pro-Iranian regime there, leaked US diplomatic cables published by Le Monde newspaper Sunday said.
“Iran is one of the dominant players in Iraqi electoral politics,” US ambassador to Baghdad Christopher Hill wrote on November 13, 2009, according to Le Monde’s translation of the WikiLeaks cable.
Tehran “uses all the means of diplomacy, security, intelligence and economic tools to influence its allies and its Iraqi detractors to establish a more pro-Iranian regime, in Baghdad as well as in the provinces,” Hill wrote.
To achieve this Iran “has understood that it needs to show great operational, and sometimes ideological, flexibility.”
It is “not rare” for Iran “to finance and support Shiite or Kurdish rivals — and sometimes even Sunni — with the aim of developing financial dependence,” Hill wrote.
“Exact figures are unknown but Iranian financial assistance to those who accept it is estimated to be 100 to 200 million dollars (75 to 150 million euros) a year.”
Hill said that Iran’s main political obstacle in Iraq “remains the dominant authority and the religious credibility incarnated by Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, who, while an Iranian national, is a critic of the ‘Wiliyat-i-Faqih’ (Guardianship of Islamic Jurists) doctrine in power in Iran.”
In another cable dated September 24, 2009, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki says that Iran reportedly “envisaged launching long-range missiles” at the Ashraf refugee camp north of Baghdad.
The camp is home to around 3,500 supporters of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, principally the People’s Mujahedeen of Iran that advocates the overthrow of the Islmic regime in Tehran.