Could Iraq play a role in easing US-Iran tensions?

Al-Monitor | : US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo decided May 8 to cancel his meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and instead head to Iraq. The top US diplomat made it clear that he was visiting Baghdad to discuss increasing tensions with Iran.

An Iraqi official told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity that Pompeo, in fact, delivered Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi a flash drive with recordings of pro-Iranian Iraqi groups preparing to attack US interests in the country. And, following Pompeo’s meeting, some Iraqi sources have indicated that the United States may consider Iraq as a bridge to an eventual dialogue with Iran — a role the Iraqis may be willing to play.

According to the Iraqi official, the Iraqi prime minister wants to play a serious role in de-escalating tensions with full backing from the highest Shiite religious authority in Iraq, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, who believes Iraq is capable of emerging as a fair mediator, not only between Iran and the United States, but also Tehran and its regional rivals.

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