Iran is now the player everybody wants on their team
Iran needs to showcase full cooperation with the international community over its nuclear file
Commander of the Iranian Quds Force Qassem Suleimani seems to truly be devoted to the Supreme Leader of Iran Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, he has high level security clearance and has influence beyond Iranian territory, it seems. But the real question is, what is he allegedly doing in Iraq?
Even since Hassan Rowhani became president, the Quds Force reduced their public appearances, perhaps because of Iran’s nuclear talks with Western powers.
Two weeks ago, rumors spread like wildfire that Suleimani was being replaced by deputy Hossein Hamedani due to Soleimani’s inability to secure a third term for Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. However, those reports were denied by news websites close to the ruling establishment.
Also, Suleimani was apparently caught on footage near the Iraqi city of Amerli last week, fueling rumors that he masterminded the operation to push ISIS militants out of the city.
Even if the nuclear talks break down, Iran and the West will have to work together to face ISISCamelia Entekhabi-Fard
The alleged push in Iraq is taking place as Iran negotiates over its nuclear program. Iran and the U.S. are set to hold talks in Geneva before the interim deal expires on November 24, although the details of the discussions have not yet been revealed to the media.
Despite the importance of the nuclear talks, both countries should know that the issue of Iraq is equally important.
Iran needs to showcase full cooperation with the international community over its nuclear file in order to play an open and bigger regional role. Even if the talks break down, Iran and the West will have to work together to face ISIS. World security has been threatened by ISIS and Iran could be a valuable partner in the fight against the terrorist organization, even if it operated indirectly in Iraq.
September will be an important month for Iranian diplomats to outline their desires and set the tone for how they would like to be viewed by the international community. This will prove to the international community that Rowhani was serious about the changes he promised his people.
This article was first published in al-Hayat on September 9, 2014.
Camelia Entekhabi-Fard is a journalist, news commentator and writer who grew up during the Iranian Revolution and wrote for leading reformist newspapers. She is also the author of Camelia: Save Yourself by Telling the Truth - A Memoir of Iran. She lives in New York City and Dubai. She can be found on Twitter: @CameliaFard
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