The US Secretary of Defence has accused Iran of funnelling money into Iraq to influence the outcome of its upcoming elections, as part of Iran's overall campaign to destabilise the Middle East.On Thursday, James Mattis said that the Iranian Regime is sending a “not [insignificant] amount of money” into Iraq to sway votes.He said: “We have worrisome evidence that Iran is trying to influence — using money — the Iraqi elections.

That money is being used to sway candidates, to sway votes — not an insignificant amount of money, we believe, and it’s highly unhelpful. We know that they are doing what they can to impact the elections, and we don’t like it.”

While Mattis declined to name a specific amount in US dollars or to say what outcome Iran hopes to achieve in the elections, it is clear that the US opposes any attempt by a foreign power to interfere in the democratic elections of another sovereign state.

Iran’s control of Middle East

Iran has been expanding its power over the Middle East for quite some time now, hoping to create a Shiite Crescent from the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean, but this has been ramped up as Iran seizes power in the vacuum left by defeated ISIS militants.

The Regime now boasts of controlling four capitals across the Middle East, including Baghdad, Sana’a, Damascus, and Beirut.

Iran’s power in Iraq began to grow after the US invasion of Iraq in 2003 and increased after the partial withdrawal in 2011.

Mattis also criticized Iran for its malign meddling in the Middle East, which included supporting Bashar Assad in Syria and the Houthi terrorists in Yemen.

Iran’s testing of advanced weaponry
Mattis also noted that Iran is using the strait between the Red Sea and the Arabian Sea to test weapons, including anti-ship missiles, radars, mines, ballistic missiles and explosive boats.

He is also suspicious of the fact that Iran appears to have stopped its dangerous actions against US Navy ships in the Persian Gulf, like making high-speed approaches, launching drones, and capturing 10 US sailors.

He said: “It’s like an outlier, and I don’t know why. They don’t seem to be engaging in the same provocative behaviour [in the Gulf].”

According to the representative for the US Naval Forces Central Command in Manama, Bahrain, Navy Commander William Urban, there have been no “unsafe and unprofessional” actions by Iran’s Navy in the Gulf since August.

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