Tags: Exclusive Interviews | Iran | Iraq in Crisis | MidPoint | threat | sunni | shiite

Mideast Expert: Iraq Chaos Bigger Threat to Iran Than US

Thursday, 19 Jun 2014 08:53 PM

By Sean Piccoli

Shiite-majority Iran has more to fear than the United States does from the violent Sunni insurgency gripping Iraq, Middle East analyst Barak Mendelsohn told Newsmax TV on Thursday.

"What's going on in Iraq now is a much more significant threat to Iranian interests in the region than to American interests," Mendelsohn, a senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner.

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Mendelsohn said he is "disturbed" by the prevailing narrative on the three countries, and by "the suggestion that the U.S. needs Iran more than Iran needs the U.S." to help stabilize Iraq.

With its Shiite allies in neighboring Iraq under siege, and with Iran itself hobbled by with economic sanctions for its disputed nuclear program, the real trouble lies in Tehran, said Mendelsohn.

"The U.S. does not need to make compromises on the nuclear issue to get Iran to act in promotion of U.S. interests in Iraq," he said. "Iran needs the U.S. and American assistance much more."

Mendelsohn said the U.S. would be unwise to trust Iran as a potential partner. But he said, "There are definitely points of converging interest, and the U.S. should exploit those."

He also said that if Iraq is to be saved, "It's probably going to be better to have that [happen] without American assistance. … American assistance can come only later, after there is willingness on the actors within Iraq to actually play nice."

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