Following the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, the Iranian influence has expanded in the country through intervention in the formation of political parties, and supporting militia groups. 

It was not that easy for an Iraqi in the past to criticize Iran or to tear up the Iranian flag or photos of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Iran’s spiritual leader of the 1979 Islamic revolution, and Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, which are prevalent in public squares across southern Iraqi provinces.

Protests that started in Basra province in July of last year reflected for the first time the state of anger against

Read more: What is behind rising anger against Iran in Iraq?