Tehran wants Iraq to become a province of Iran: Hook
CAIRO – 13 March 2019: U.S. Special Representative for Iran, Brian Hook, criticized Iran on Tuesday for President Hassan Rouhani's visit to Iraq and accused his government of trying to control Iraq by fueling sectarian conflict in the country.
Hook said in an interview with Alhurrha TV that Rouhani's visit is not in the best interest of the Iraqi people and does not support the security and sovereignty of Iraq.
"When President Rouhani comes into Iraq, you have to question the motive," Hook said Monday. "I think what Iran would ultimately like to see happen is Iraq turn into a province of Iran so that they can create a military highway across the northern Middle East that the Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps can use to ferry missiles and weapons."
Hook said Iran is "the last revolutionary regime on earth," and it is trying to further destabilize the Middle East by reinforcing the sectarian divide.
"The Iranian regime wants to replace a national identity. They want to dissolve it and replace it with a Shi'ite identity. This has been the core of their foreign policy to create sectarian divisions. They want to do that in Iraq, as well."
The U.S. official's comments come as Rouhani arrived in Baghdad Monday and met with his counterpart, President Barham Salih, as a part of his three-day state visit to Iraq aimed at bolstering Tehran's influence and increasing commercial ties with Iraq.
According to Iraqi and Iranian officials, Rouhani and his delegation of 32 business people have signed several preliminary trade deals with Iraqi officials, including a major plan to build a railway linking the neighbors and easing visa restrictions.
"At a time when the United States is seeking to pressure the Iranian nation with its unjust sanctions, we need to develop and deepen our relations to stand against them," Rouhani said.
Rouhani claimed "world powers" were behind terrorism in the Middle East, completely disregarding facts about crimes and terrorist acts committed by its backed Hezbollah, Houthi militia, and the Iranian Militia in Iraq and Syria (IMIS).