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04/13/2020 Iran (International Christian Concern) – Iranian propaganda is hard at work promoting the appointment of Iraq’s latest Prime Minister Mustafa al-Khadimi, including putting religious minorities in the middle of the disagreements surrounding his designation. The Iranian Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying that his designation is the “right decision.” The Iranian ambassador to Iraq said that “our policy is not providing support for just one political group in Iraq. We respect all ethnicities and religious groups.”  The ambassador also said that Iran supports Iraq’s parliament because it represents the whole of Iraqi society, including Christians.

Iran and Iraq maintain an extremely close relationship, which muddles the political process and when disagreements occur, are expressed through paramilitary activities. Unlike Christians in Iran, Iraqi Christians have a more open and stronger role in society. Nevertheless, despite Iran’s propaganda otherwise, Iraqi Christians feel the weight of the pressure placed on them by Iran. This is primarily through the Iranian backed militias which control Christian areas of Iraq. Local Christians often complain of harassment, intimidation, and extortion conducted by these militias.

Iran’s propaganda that they support Iraqi Christians and other religious minorities falls flat in the face reality. Iran has made it clear that they want more of an economic, political, and military influence in Iraq. Iran’s own record of religious freedom is one of the worst in the Middle East, and even the world. As Iran attempts to grow their Iraqi influence, the increased exportation of persecution is expected.

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