The Defense Ministers of Iraq and Iran have united to sign a pact to fight in a joint effort against “terrorism and extremism,” and the Trump administration–a hostile critic of the Iranian regime–is silent thus far.
Iranian Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan and Iraqi Defense Minister Erfan al-Hiyali came together on Sunday to sign a memorandum of understanding pertaining not only to fighting terror but also other shared common goals such as border security and logistics. This marks a watershed moment of diplomacy between the frequently hostile nations.
“Extending cooperation and exchanging experiences in fighting terrorism and extremism, border security, and educational, logistical, technical and military support are among the provisions of this memorandum,” the Islamic Republic News Agency reported after the accords were signed in Tehran this weekend.
“We thank the security forces for their efforts in liberating Mosul from ISIL – however we now are entering a new phase rebuilding Iraq post ISIL, which is aiming to achieve national reconciliation between political forces.” said Sarah Allawi, advisor to the Iraqi vice president, after the agreement was signed.
This announcement is expected to strengthen the positions of the two nations against ISIS, which has been beaten back in many areas of Iraq and Syria. ISIS is down but not out, and the alliance between Iran and Iraq will make it harder for ISIS to regain lost momentum. The Trump administration, despite its frequent hostile rhetoric toward Iran, has said nothing regarding this agreement at the present time.
Trump threatened “rogue regimes like North Korea, Iran and Syria and the governments that finance and support them” earlier this month, and will ultimately have to decide whether he wants to live up to his sharp rhetoric and provoke Iran, or stand back and allow these countries to take control of their own affairs.
“With the focus of both Iraq and Iran primarily at fighting against ISIS, it’s no surprise the two sides would be cooperating, as they have a natural mutual interest in this fight, with ISIS clear that their territorial ambitions don’t end at the Syrian and Iraqi borders, and would quickly expand into Iran as well, given the opportunity,” foreign policy analyst Jason Ditz said in an Antiwar.com report analyzing the Iran-Iraq agreement.