The UK has acknowledged that it is unreasonable to expect Iraq to sever relations with neighboring Iran but called on Baghdad to reduce its reliance on Tehran.
Iraq has extensive trade ties with Iran and heavily depends on Iranian natural gas imports, but such close relations do not sit well with the West whose leaders want the two neighbors to remain disengaged.
Britain’s Minister of State for the Middle East Alistair Burt was the latest to bring up the subject in Baghdad Sunday, calling on Iraqi leaders to keep Iran at an arm’s length.
“What is important is that Iraq finds the opportunity to follow its own future in terms of foreign relations and that its economy is strong, and isn’t reliant on Iran,” he told Reuters at the UK Embassy in Baghdad.
However, “to expect Iran to have no influence in Iraq is fanciful,” said Burt who is the latest on a long list of Western officials visiting Iraq over the past weeks, with…