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Baghdad Resents Tehran Haughtiness.

Iraqi leaders from President Jalal Talabani (a Kurd) and PM Maleki down resent the imperious behaviour of the Iranian counterparts when they visit Tehran, or when they receive the latter in Baghdad. Talabani was recently offended as he was received in Tehran by a lower-ranking official and later was told bluntly by Supreme Leader Khamenei what was expected of Baghdad by the theocracy. Maleki joins Talabani in finding Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad a patronising leader rather than a statesman observing protocol. The same is true of Iran's parliament Speaker Ali Larijani and the other officials. This is also felt by non-supremacists talking to Hizbullah leadership members in Lebanon - for another example.

Iraqi politicians or Sunni theologians complain that this haughtiness reflects what they call "Safawid superiority over the other Muslims". But Sunni Arab critics of the Iranian theocracy say the supremacists only show their imperious nature after they have strengthened their presence in any country, such as Iraq and Lebanon. Then, the critics say, the supremacists impose their will over the others - as the IRGC has been doing in Iran since it arranged for Ahmadi-Nejad to have a second four-year term in the controversial June 12, 2009 presidential elections.

However, Shi'ite Arabs in Baghdad stress the Maleki government acts independently and does not follow orders from Iran or any other external state. Maleki himself has been emphasising this point to those of his critics who claim the PM is a puppet of Tehran.

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Publication:APS Diplomat Strategic Balance in the Middle East
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:7IRAN
Date:Aug 8, 2011
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