Iran: Referendum Will Arm Iraqi Officials Against US 'Pressure

By Juan Cole

The USG Open Source Center translates a radio broadcast from The Voice of the Islamic Republic of Iran praising the passage of the Security Agreement between Iraq and the US by the Iraqi parliament. The celebratory style shows that official Iran has swung behind the agreement as a tool for getting the US military out of their western neighbor. Chief Justice Ayatollah Mahmud Hashemi Shahrudi had praised the agreement. (Shahrudi is Iraqi in origin and served 1982-84 as the head of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, now led by Abdul Aziz al-Hakim.) Although Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei initially opposed it, he fell quiet once the Iraqi cabinet passed it. Both President Mahmud Ahmadinejad and Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani strongly opposed it, but they don't appear to control the official radio. So if this agreement really were a good thing for Bush, would Iran be this happy?

Iranian Radio Says Referendum Will Arm Iraqi Officials Against US 'Pressures'
Voice of the Islamic Republic of Iran Radio 1
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Document Type: OSC Translated Text

The Iraqi parliament has approved a referendum on the Baghdad-Washington security agreement. On this basis the agreement will be put to a referendum in Moradad (month beginning 22 July) next year. The security agreement, which is called SOFA (US-Iraqi Status of Forces Agreement), was approved by the parliament following months of consultation between the American and Iraqi officials and after many arguments and making some changes to its contents.

The draft of the agreement was revised and amended seven times due to strong resistance by Iraqi political groups against the irrational demands of America.

According to Resolution 1770 of the Security Council, the military presence of American troops was coming to an end by the end of the current Christian year. For this reason, to pursue their strategic objectives, the Americans have been trying for the past year to legitimize their presence in Iraq by imposing an agreement called SOFA on the Iraqi government but their efforts have been met with domestic and foreign oppositions and concerns, especially the neighboring countries. And of course, these concerns have been proved right with the recent attack on Syria.

This security agreement, which specifies the beginning of 2011 as the time for the complete withdrawal of American forces from Iraq, contains many conditions. One of these conditions, notably the withdrawal of American troops after guaranteeing stability in Iraq, can be used as a pretext by the future American government to prolong its stay in Iraq. For this reason, this agreement has been faced with opposition from various groups in Iraq giving rise to the issue of holding a referendum.

The agreement of the Iraqi government and parliament with holding a referendum shows that Iraqi officials, who are under pressure from America, will be in a better position to express their views by referring to the general consensus and the support of the Iraqi people, and will be able to free themselves from the pressures of the American statesmen.

(Description of Source: Tehran Voice of the Islamic Republic of Iran Radio 1 in Persian -- state-run radio)

Juan Cole is President of the Global Americana Institute. http://www.juancole.com

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