The Washington Institute – Breaking the Ice: Erbil-Tehran Relations after Barzani’s Visit

President Nechirvan Barzani meeting with Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamanei (The Presidency of the Kurdistan Region/Public domain)

In an analysis piece published in The Washington Institute for Near East Policy’s Fikra Forum, Beirut-based journalist İdris Okuducu argues that despite many Kurds’ opposition to Iran’s significant influence in Iraq, President Nechirvan Barzani seems open to leveraging Tehran’s power to address the KRG’s ongoing election dispute. Okuducu notes that Iraqi Shia political parties, understood to be close to Iran, are influential in the Iraqi Federal Court which called for the suspension of elections in the KRG in June.

Shortly after meeting Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamanei in May, President Barzani said that Iran and the KRG had opened a new chapter in bilateral relations and that the two governments would soon sign a new agreement. This comes despite seemingly cordial relations between the U.S. and the KRG, with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken recently praising the US-Kurdistan partnership as being founded on shared values and interests.