In a meeting with the Iraqi Minister for Antiquities and Tourism in Tehran on Sunday, Iran’s Foreign Minister emphasized their two countries’ close religious and cultural history and ever-closer political relationship. A day later, in Baghdad, Iran’s oil minister put pen to paper on a $15 billion deal to supply natural gas to Iraq’s beleaguered energy sector.The deal makes a lot of sense for both countries. Iran has struggled to export its oil and gas because of sanctions; Iraq’s electrical grid, beset by frequent blackouts, is thirsty for fuel.The deal is also a political message: the Maliki regime in Baghdad, free from US influence, has cozied up to Tehran. But with the Syrian civil war dragging on and sucking in all the neighbors, including Iran, Maliki and some Iraqi religious leaders like Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani are trying but failing to keep Iraqis from being drawn in.Though Tehran has pushed continuously to get Iraq to fully support Assad, Maliki has demurred. In the western part of Iraq, influential Sunni tribes fight alongside the Syrian rebels and the Iraqi security forces too. Religious fault lines in Iraq are again becoming extremely violent. Car bombs, suicide attacks, and coordinated assassinations have become almost as common in Iraq now as they were during the dark days of the civil war. Dozens die in almost daily attacks—on mosques, on roadblocks manned by soldiers, on enemy militias. Just yesterday, for instance, al-Qaeda fighters armed with booby-trapped cars, rocket-propelled grenades, and suicide vests attacked Abu Ghraib and Taji prisons near Baghdad, according to the Iraqi police freeing more than 500 prisoners, many of whom were senior members of al-Qaeda.The gas deal is a sign that Maliki doesn’t intend to let American priorities guide his relationship with Tehran. But at least Iraqis will soon have better access to electricity. There is little else happening that counts as good news.