Baghdad, Asharq Al-Awsat – Sources within Iran’s embassy to Baghdad have confirmed to Asharq Al-Awsat that Iran’s new ambassador to Iraq, Hassan Danaifar, is set to assume his new post within the next few days, succeeded Iranian ambassador Hassan Kazmi Qumi, who has been Iran’s ambassador to Iraq over the past 6 years. Reliable sources confirmed that the new ambassador has a close friendship with current Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, and that he was a member of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards before taking over the economic file between the two countries.
Sources within the embassy told Asharq Al-Awsat that the new ambassador, who was born in 1962, was responsible for the Iranian – Iraqi economic file at the Iranian Foreign Ministry, and that he is a former member of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards. The Iranian Foreign Ministry announced Hassan Danaifar would be its new ambassador to Iraq in mid-June 2010.
Iraqi President Jalal Talabani met with outgoing Iranian ambassador Hassan Kazmi Qumi and a number of other Iranian diplomats at his residence in Baghdad last week in order to mark the end of Qumi’s tenure in Iraq. During this meeting, Talabani stressed that “a stable, independent, and free Iraq will work to develop and advance its relations with Iran and the regional environment in all fields.” Ambassador Qumi also stated that bilateral relations between Iraq and Iran have advanced and improved in all fields, particularly the diplomatic field. He stressed that a number of consulates have been opened in cities in both countries, while bilateral trade has improved, and efforts are being made to solve problems resulting from past disputes, particularly those pertaining to border disputes.
Sources also informed Asharq Al-Awsat that the new Iranian ambassador holds positions that contradict the ambitions of the Iraqi Kurds. However the Iranian Consul to Erbil, Aziz Hussein, denied this, and said that the new ambassador is fully acquainted with the Iraqi file, and that he is extremely familiar with Iraq. As for Danaifar’s relationship with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, Hussein told Asharq Al-Awsat via telephone from Erbil that “the new ambassador is a friend to all Iraqi officials in view of his relation with them during his handling of the economic file between the two countries.” Hussein also confirmed that Danaifar was a member of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards before taking over the economic file
For his part, Shaker Kitab, the spokesman for the Tajdid movement that is led by Tariq al-Hashimi and which is part of the Iraqiya bloc, told Asharq Al-Awsat that he expected that the new Iranian ambassador had secret plans. He told Asharq Al-Awsat that Iran’s policy towards Iraq “was wrong and will remain to be wrong for years to come, and changing their ambassador does not mean a change in this policy, but that there will be changes in how they manage and deal with it.”