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Iranian Spy Games Revealed

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Qassem Suleimani, the head of Iran’s Quds Force
Qassem Suleimani, the head of Iran’s Quds Force, in Tehran on Sept. 18, 2016. Press Office of Iranian Supreme Leader/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

What a trove of leaked Iranian cables tells us about Iran’s influence in Iraq.

Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have taken to the streets in recent weeks to protest against their government, prompting violent crackdowns. Security forces have killed at least 300 demonstrators so far and wounded thousands.

The protesters are angry about government corruption and widespread unemployment. Many of them are also frustrated at the degree of influence neighboring Iran wields in Iraq’s political affairs.

A recent report published jointly by the New York Times and the Intercept, based on hundreds of leaked Iranian intelligence documents, outlines just how deep that influence runs.

On First Person this week, we spoke to the New York Times reporter Farnaz Fassihi. She was a member of the investigative team that brought the leaked cables to light. Fassihi is also the author of the book Waiting for An Ordinary Day, a memoir of her four years covering the Iraq War and witnessing the unraveling of social life for Iraqi citizens.

About First Person:  Each week on First Person, we conduct a narrative-driven conversation with one person whose experience illuminates something timely and important about our world. Our guests tend to be people who have participated directly in events, either as protagonists or eyewitnesses. We get them to tell their story, not just offer analysis. First Person is hosted by FP deputy editor Sarah Wildman. Sarah is an award-winning journalist whose stories have appeared in the New York TimesSlate, Vox and the New Yorker online. She is the author of Paper Love: Searching for the Girl My Grandfather Left Behind.  See All Episodes

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