Iraq’s PM-designate in hot water after meeting Iranian envoy

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Iraq’s Prime Minister-Designate Adel Abdul-Mahdi received Iran’s Ambassador to Baghdad Iraj Masjedi on Tuesday, 24 hours after Abdul-Mahdi said in a statement that he will not receive officials from diplomatic missions and embassies.

In a statement on Monday, Abdul-Mahdi said he will not receive the heads and top officials of diplomatic missions while forming the cabinet, except for very special cases such as the representative of the UN secretary general.

His statement added that diplomatic missions can convey messages to him via the ministry of foreign affairs or the cabinet’s general secretariat or his office or via e-mail and the phone.

News that Abdul-Mahdi received the Iranian envoy was posted on Abdul-Mahdi’s Facebook page and it sparked sarcasm with many commenting that the prime minister-designate could not keep a promise that he just made 24 hours ago.

“Abdul-Mahdi was supposed to keep his promise since all visits at this point are not void of pressure to influence the cabinet formation,” many activists wrote.

The statement said that Abdul-Mahdi met with the Iranian envoy said the two discussed bilateral cooperation and economic and trade cooperation and also voiced the importance of security coordination.

According to analysts Al Arabiya English previously spoke to, the upcoming Iraqi government’s most difficult challenge is shielding Iraq from the American sanctions against Iran and not allowing them to include the Iraqi government especially that the Iranian-backed Popular Mobilization forces have the intent to confuse the Iraqi situation in case there are any threats posed against Iran’s interests in Iraq.

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