Packed with details but very long.....
Iraq was in mid-1970s Russia’s most trusted ally in the Muslim world (except for South Yemen, which was already officially a Soviet satellite), and the only nominally non-communistic state, where the KGB ceased its activities, because there appeared to be no need for any supervision. When Saddam Hussein had some Iraqi communists executed, in May 1978, the KGB became worried, but the outbreak of Iraqi-Iranian war in 1980, came as a surprise to Soviet diplomacy. For a while, Soviet Union wavered in whom to support, but when the USA, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia had made their choice for Iraq, the Soviet Union switched sides. Following this, many Soviet-sponsored terrorists had to move from Iraq to Iran, Syria, or Lebanon.
Iran became Russia’s most loyal ally after the Islamic revolution in 1979. This relationship has lasted over two decades, and is still cherished by the Islamists among Shi’ite clergy and security services. When Soviet troops invaded Afghanistan later the same year, there was only one spontaneous demonstration in Tehran, after which Iran has tamely followed Russia’s actions against neighbouring Muslim people.
Unfortunately, "Soviet provocation… remains little understood in the West. People safe in a democratic system may find it difficult to conceive that rulers would systematically use such hostile techniques against their own subjects." (Deriabin & Bagley, p. 252)