Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi on Tuesday announced plans to visit both Iran and the US in hopes of defusing steadily mounting tension between Tehran and Washington.
‘REGIONAL PROBLEMS WILL BE DISCUSSED’
Speaking to reporters in Baghdad, Abdul-Mahdi said he plans to make the twin visits “within days”. The prime minister reportedly hopes to meet the leaders of both countries to discuss recent regional developments and “try to defuse the crisis” between them.
On Saturday, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif visited Iraq which enjoys close ties with both Iran and the US to discuss possible mediation by Baghdad.
Tensions between Iran and the US have mounted steadily since 2017, when Donald Trump withdrew his country from a landmark nuclear agreement between Tehran and the P5+1 group of nations (the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany). Since then, the Trump administration has also re-imposed sanctions on Iran’s banking and energy sectors, while Iran has threatened to close the strategic Strait of Hormuz to US oil shipments.
Earlier this month, the US sent a carrier strike group to the Middle East, citing a “credible threat” from Tehran. On May 24, CNN reported that Trump had approved the deployment of 1,500 US troops to the Middle East in a “mostly protective” effort aimed at deterring what he described as “Iranian threats”.