News / Middle East

Iran Concerned by Turmoil in Iraq

FILE - Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.
FILE - Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.
Iran says it will fight terrorism in neighboring Iraq following the quick capture of several Iraqi cities this week by the Sunni Muslim militant group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

On state TV Thursday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said “As a state, we will not tolerate violence and terror. We fight against terrorism, violence and radicalism, as we have announced that at the United Nations general session.”

However, he did not give specifics on how Shi'ite-majority Iran might support the Shi'ite-led government in Iraq. Iran’s National Security Council met Thursday to discuss Iraq, but there was no news as to what it decided.

The deputy commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, Hossein Salami, predicted the Sunni Islamist militia in Iraq is going to lose “very soon.”  Salami also said the U.S. and its Western allies are to blame for the situation in Iraq, saying their military intervention in the region had destabilized it.

Some Iranians are taking to social media to call for more action to keep Iraqi cities safe from possible seizure by Sunni insurgents.

Posting to a VOA Farsi Instagram account, one Iranian commented “We are not going to allow Sunni militants to take over Shi’ite cities.”

Another wrote on Facebook, “Mehrdad: [the Sunni insurgents] only attacked with the goal to plunder arms from Iraqi cities because it did not have the ability to fight long term. They will return to Syria with the spoils it received to start a new round of conflict in Syria.

A third person wrote on Instagram, “Amin: Iraq and Syria have become the playground of Iran and Saudi Arabia. With consideration I don’t have a good relationship with this government, in this hard situation and world isolation, Arab Salafis are rivals. We shouldn’t allow the dirty hands of extremist groups to reach Karbala and Najaf."

The Iranian newspaper Kayhan, closely aligned with Iran's Supreme Leader, said that the Sunni militants who took over Mosul and several other cities in Iraq would be beaten by the Iraqi government.

A reformist newspaper, Shargh, said because Iran and the U.S. are discussing Iran’s nuclear program and seemed close to an agreement, the Saudi government had been made unhappy, a claim alluding to Saudi rivalry with Iran and support for Sunni rebels in Syria.

Another reformist newspaper, Etemad, ran an article written by the Iraqi Kurdistan representative to Iran, Nazim Dabagh, in which he blames Iraq's intelligence service for not understanding the real threat the insurgents represented.  He said 80 to 90 percent of city residents supported the Sunni insurgents in Iraq.

The newspaper Javan, which belongs Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, said the U.S. is responsible for what is happening in Iraq now.

Iranian opposition groups are generally against the Sunni insurgents and have concerns about the situation in Iraq, but also they blame Iran's government because of its role in Syria and Iraq and its support for Syrian President Bashar Assad and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al- Maliki, both of whom are Shi’ites.  They say this Iranian support has led to more conflict between the Shi’ites and Sunnis of those two countries.

This report was produced in collaboration with the Persian News Network.

You May Like

US Border Patrol Union Accused of Taking Sides on Immigration

Report alleges agents leaking info to immigration opponents, appearing at their private events; Center for Immigration Studies director defends agents' actions More

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Reporting from Somali capital for past decade, Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal has been working at one of Mogadishu's leading radio stations covering parliament More

Video Rights Monitor: Hate Groups' Use of Internet to Inflame, Recruit Growing

Wiesenthal Center's Abraham Cooper says extremists have become skilled at celebrating violence, ideology on Web More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Interneti
X
Mike O'Sullivan
June 30, 2015 8:20 PM
Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.

VOA Blogs