Qais al-Shathir, a parliament member with the Coalition of Iraqi Forces, told Al-Monitor, “The relationship of Iraqi political parties and politicians with Iran is not hidden, as these receive material and moral support from it.” He added, “The potential US sanctions against these do not serve the interests of Iraq.”
Also, “The majority of those referred to as having a close relationship with Tehran are popular in Iraq, are part of the political process and have contributed to the battles against IS,” he said, noting that Washington should think twice before taking on those groups.
However, Jassim al-Moussawi, a writer, political analyst and head of the Media Monitor Center, told Al-Monitor that such pro-Iranian groups could be successfully targeted for sanctions because “some Iraqi Sunni leaders sought to internationalize what they say are crimes committed by the PMU in the areas liberated of IS.” This could “serve to legitimize any sanctions against them.”
Moussawi said, “Washington could exert pressure on the Iraqi government to extradite those wanted by law and prosecute and prevent PMU leaders from traveling based on international lists of wanted people. It could also impose other measures such as freezing assets and resorting to prosecutions.”