Iran is pressing Iraq to expand its already game-changing oil and gas infrastructure deal with China. Tehran is looking to include Iraq in the Sino-Russian power bloc in order to expand its influence in the oil-rich country. Chinese money, equipment and technology should, Baghdad and Tehran think, allow Iraq to gradually increase its oil production to the 7 million bpd targeted by end-2022. With the Western-leaning, reformist agenda of Iran President, Hassan Rouhani, neutered by the unilateral withdrawal of the U.S. from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action in 2018, hardline groups led by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) have been able to gradually recoup all of their previous power and influence, and more. The additional part has been a definitive pivot away from any notions of engagement with the West and Iran seeking to push Iraq firmly into the Sino-Russian power bloc. This was highlighted again by […]