The Iranian Ambassador to Iraq, Iraj Masjidi, pulled out abruptly on Saturday from an event he was attending in Baghdad, organized by al-Binaa Alliance – on the first anniversary marking victory over ISIS extremist group.
Masjidi – who is a lifelong member of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) - was seen in a video during the event which was attended by Iraq’s President Barham Salih and the head of the Fatah Alliance Hadi al-Amiri - leaving immediately following a request by the event’s mediator asking those in attendance to stand up in respect, toward Iraq’s martyrs.
A well informed source told Al Arabiya English that the Iranian ambassador left the event and did not come back for unknown reasons.
A number of politicians expressed their resentment toward the Iranian ambassador’s behavior, saying it was unacceptable and an indication that those who sacrificed their blood for Iraq were not respected, especially by a diplomatic figure representing a neighboring country.
It is noteworthy that this celebration is the first after Iraq declared victory over ISIS in December 2017, after expelling the extremistss from all urban centers including second city Mosul in a vast military campaign.
But the Iraqi military has kept up operations targeting mostly desert areas along the porous border with Syria.
Iran extended its influence in Iraq by supporting its armed militias under the pretext of fighting ISIS, with the participation of members of Iran’s Quds Force, many of whom were killed during the fighting.
Former Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi said in televised statement earlier, that Iran had received funds to provide the Popular Mobilization Forces with arms under the guise of war against ISIS extremist group.
It is worth mentioning that al-Binaa Alliance includes the State of Law Coalition led by Nouri al-Maliki and the Fatah Alliance, led by Hadi al-Amiri.