Commenting on President Rouhani's visit to Iraq, the U.S. Special Representative for Iran, Brian Hook, opined that "you have to question the motive. I think what Iran would ultimately like to see happen is Iraq turn into a province of Iran so that they can create a military highway across the northern Middle East that the IRGC can use to ferry missiles and weapons". Hook went on to say that "the Iranian regime wants to replace a national identity. They want to dissolve it and replace it with a Shiite identity. This has been the core of their foreign policy to create sectarian divisions. They want to do that in Iraq as well". Iran's diplomatic spokesperson subsequently argued that "the outrage of the U.S. official comes as no surprise because it seems the U.S. has not yet achieved a desirable status among the regional states despite spending billions of dollars in the Middle East".
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