The instability and crisis in Iraq has provided two intriguing platforms for Iranian leaders. First of all, Tehran can utilize these developments as a means to establish itself as a legitimate, credible, regional power in assisting other conflict-inflicted states. In other words, Iran can replace American efforts in the region with informed and constructive policies that define Tehran as a benevolent regional power. The Islamic Republic can also take the path of investing in some religious and political groups while excluding others.
From the perspective of the Iranian leaders, since the U.S. has failed to constructively manage the civil war, crisis, along with the socio-political and socio-economic landscapes of Iraq, the Islamic Republic is in a position to potentially replace the U.S. as a regional hegemonic stance.
In order to utilize Iraq as a bulwark against other Sunni countries in the region, Iran’s foreign policy in Iraq increasingly highlights Tehran’s emphasis on investing in Shiite militia groupsMajid Rafizadeh