Iraq and Iran: Reforming and Consolidating the Relationship

In this policy paper, Dr. Mohammed Radhi Al-Shummary, professor at Al-Nahrain University, explains the fundamental dynamics that underscores Iraq’s relationship with Iran and provides analyses and recommendations that could pave the way for a mutually beneficial relationship, one that is underpinned by both political and popular perceptions toward Iran in a political and social climate that has undergone important changes in recent years.


Over the past two decades, the relationship between Iraq and Iran has been characterized as a complex and unequal relationship. The relationship is premised on geography, culture, politics, and religion, but there are also divided and conflicted attitudes toward the relationship. There are those that regard and champion the relationship as an organic one and essential to the strategic depth of Iraq's Shiites, while others see it as a relationship of exploitation by Iran and governed by negative historical attitudes and inherited grudges. This disparity in attitudes was reinforced by what is seen as an inequality between the two parties, specifically after 2003, when Iran, a pivotal country in the Middle East, exerted unprecedented influence over Iraqi affairs amid a dramatically diminished Iraqi state, one that could not manage the implications of such influence, as well as the influence and engagement of other regional actors.


In this policy paper, Dr. Mohammed Radhi Al-Shummary, Professor at Al-Nahrain University, explains the fundamental dynamics that underscores Iraq’s relationship with Iran and provides analyses and recommendations that could pave the way for a mutually beneficial relationship, one that is underpinned by both political and popular perceptions toward Iran in a political and social climate that has undergone important changes in recent years.


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Iraq and Iran- Reforming and Consolidating the Relationship
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Mohammed Radhi Al-Shummary

Dr. Mohammed Radhi Al-Shummary is a Professor at Al-Nahrain University/ College of Political Science. He is the Director of Sumeria Foundation, a non-profit organization working for peace and stability in Iraq and the wider Middle East and North Afria. He is a Senior Advisor to Sayyid Ammar Al-Hakim and holds a Ph.D in Political Strategic Science.