The day after anti-government protests erupted in Iraq, Iranian General Qassim Soleimani flew into Baghdad late at night and took a helicopter to the heavily fortified Green Zone, where he surprised a group of top security officials by chairing a meeting in place of the Iraqi Prime Minister.

The arrival of Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force and the architect of its regional security apparatus, signalled Tehran’s concern over the protests, which had erupted across the capital and in Iraq’s Shiite heartland, and included calls for Iran to stop meddling in the country.

The protests in Iraq and Lebanon are fuelled by local grievances and mainly directed at political elites, but they also pose a challenge to Iran, which closely backs both governments as well as powerful armed groups in each country.

An increasingly violent crackdown in Iraq and an attack by Hezbollah supporters on the main protest camp in Beirut have raised fears of a backlash by Iran and its allies.

“We in Iran know how to deal with protests,” Soleimani told the Iraqi officials, according to two senior officials familiar with the meeting who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the secret gathering. “This happened in Iran and we got it under control.”

But nearly a month later, the protests in Iraq have resumed and demonstrations continue in Lebanon, both directed at governments and factions allied with Tehran. The protests threaten Iran’s regional influence at a time when it is struggling under crippling US sanctions.

Read the full article at Sydney Morning Herald

FREE COPY: Understanding the threat from Iran

Covering the threat from Iran to Israel and the West, plus the plight of the Iranian people: Read our Operation Mordecai campaign booklet online or receive a FREE copy by post.

Related Articles:

Israel approves over £7 billion for Arab-Israelis to tackle poverty and wave of violence

The Israeli government on Sunday approved two new socioeconomic budgets for its Arab-Israeli community amounting to more than £7 billion in funding. The funding plan aims to...

Iranians who oppose regime offer condolences for Sir David Amess

The Iranian resistance movement is mourning the loss of their good friend Sir David Amess who worked to bring about freedom and democracy in Iran for over thirty years and spoke out...

Israel, UK, USA, France, Italy, Germany, Greece and India join forces for ‘Blue Flag’ military exercise

Israel is hosting air force squadrons from eight countries, including the UK, in the latest joint military exercises hosted by the Jewish state. The exercise, held at Ovda...

UK seeks “better, deeper trade relations” with Israel

The UK government's International Trade Minister, Ranil Jayawardena, said the UK-Israel trade relationship was going from "strength to strength" when answering questions in parliament...

BBC refuses to acknowledge Israeli-Arab’s Paralympic gold medal

The BBC is guilty of showing shameful anti-Israel bias in its coverage of the Toyko Paralympics 2020, refusing to acknowledge an Israeli-Arab as the first Arab to win a gold...

We call upon the UK Government to officially recognise Jerusalem is Israel's capital and move its embassy to Jerusalem.