The representative of Iran’s Supreme Leader in the main conservative newspaper in Iran has once again demanded the “capture” of the U.S. embassy in Baghdad. He had made a similar threat in early October.
Hossein Shariatmadari, editor of hardliner Kayhan newspaper, directly controlled by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has again alleged that protests in Iraq “are being managed by the embassies of America and Saudi Arabia”.
Iranian officials have been making the allegation since the protests in Iraq against corruption and mismanagement began in early October, without presenting any evidence.
Iran has gained extensive influence within Iraq’s parliament and politics, seeing the current political leadership as best suited to its interests.
Shariatmadari in an editorial note has said that even without any direct evidence, “devious slogans” during the protests are enough to prove his allegation.
In addition to demanding the resignation of politicians, Iraqi protesters have also chanted slogans against Iran’s influence in Iraq and its interference in the country’s politics. Iran also finances and controls armed Shiite militias, which have apparently intervened in the protests and are accused of opening fire on protesters.
Shariatmadari whose words are seen to reflect Khamenei’s opinions, has directly called on Iran-backed militias to capture the American and other embassies in Baghdad.
The United States had warned against any attack in Iraq on its interests by “Iran-backed groups” and had warned in case of such attacks Iran would be held responsible and the U.S. would “act decisively” to defend American lives.