While making a surprise visit to Iraqi proxy militias in Baghdad last week, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards intelligence chief Hossein Taeb reportedly urged the militias to increase their attacks on United States targets, Reuters reported Tuesday.

Three militia and two Iraqi security sources told Reuters that the Iranian delegation met several Iraqi militia leaders and conveyed “the [Iranian] supreme leader’s message to them about keeping up the pressure on U.S. forces in Iraq until they leave the region.”

Furthermore, several militia sources were quoted as saying that the Iranians advised them to increase their attacks against U.S. forces but not to go too far to avoid a serious escalation. Taeb also urged Iraqi proxy militias to attack U.S. forces in Syria. 

Amwaj media claims that Taeb and a “large delegation” also met with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi at his office inside the fortified Green Zone. The Iranians did not coordinate with any of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), which has not been their usual operating procedure. 

A Conflict Within the Iranian Government

Taeb’s message to the militias is different than that of Quds Force commander Esmail Ghaani, the successor of assassinated commander MG Qassem Soleimani

Iranian Commander's Visit to Iraq Reveals Rifts in the Iranian Government
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. (NY Daily News)

Recently, Esmail Ghaani held a meeting with senior PMF militia members asking them to rein in the attacks on U.S. interests until after the nuclear talks of reviving the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) are completed. Nevertheless, the militias disregarded this.

This begs the question of whether all the Iranian government factions are in agreement over policy regarding the U.S. presence in Iraq and Syria.

Taeb’s message to the Iraqi PMF militias underscores what the Iranian envoy to the UN said in a statement to the U.N. Security Council.