Iran and U.S.: Unlikely Allies In Iraq?

USF professor Mohsen Milani explores the role of Iran in shaping the future of Iraq.

 

TAMPA, Fla. (Sept. 22, 2010) – Iran has played the role of a “spoiler power” in Iraq, thwarting U.S. interests in the war-torn country when they run counter to what Iran wants to happen there, said University of South Florida professor Mohsen M. Milani.

 

But, Milani says in a recently published article, Iran will just as easily support the United States in areas where the interests of the two countries overlap.

 

Milani expounds on the seemingly contradictory and complicated foreign relations chess match between the U.S. and Iran in the article published on the website of Foreign Affairs, one of the most prestigious forums for discussion of American foreign policy and international affairs.

 

The U.S. and Iran, Milani said, “are involved in a strategic competition. Iran is not there to make things easy for the U.S. and the U.S. is not there to make things easy for Iran.”

 

Milani, who is also chair of the Department of Government and International Affairs, decided to write the article at the end of August, which coincided with the end of American combat operations in Iraq.

 

Iran, he said, is not a strong enough power to shape the future of Iraq, but it has enough of an influence to disrupt American operations when it wants to.  In the article titled “Meet Me in Baghdad”, Milani argues that the “spoiler power” role is not sustainable.

 

If Iran is truly interested in Iraq’s future stability, he said, it will need to “cooperate with the United States on a shared vision for the future of the country.”

 

-          Peter E. Howard, USF Digital News Editor – 813-974-9057.