Months before Iran successfully installed its hand-picked government coalition in Iraq, Vice President Joe Biden told a group of U.S. military veterans that Iran’s influence in the country was “minimal” and had been “greatly exaggerated.”
“Let me tell you something, Iranian influence in Iraq is minimal,” Biden said during an Aug. 23, 2010, address to the Veterans of Foreign Wars. “It’s been greatly exaggerated.”
“The Iranian government spent over $100 million trying to affect the outcome of this last election to sway the Iraqi people, and they utterly failed,” Biden continued. “The Iraqi people voted for their desired candidates, none of whom, none of whom, let me emphasize this, none of whom, were wanted by Iran.”
Biden’s remarks are newly relevant in light of his comments following President Donald Trump’s decision to order a strike on Qassem Soleimani, a top Iranian general who helped plan Tehran’s takeover of the Iraqi political system. Biden’s foreign policy record, particularly as it relates to Iraq, is coming under increasing scrutiny as Democrats barrel towards the Iowa caucuses next month.
Biden’s 2010 address came in the wake of Iraqi parliamentary elections as the country worked to form a new government. Though Biden claimed in his speech that Iran had failed in its attempts to shape the new government, Iran, led by Soleimani, was getting exactly what it desired, according to the New Yorker‘s comprehensive 2013 profile of the now-eliminated terrorist leader.