Iran’s top security official said insecurity in West Asia stems from the United States’ illegitimate presence and acts of terror, urging neighbors to make collective efforts and pave the way for the withdrawal of American troops from the region.
In a meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi in Tehran on Tuesday, Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Shamkhani welcomed Baghdad’s diplomatic efforts toward establishing regional security and easing tensions between neighboring countries.
Referring to Washington’s “malicious,” “terrorist” and “destabilizing” actions, Shamkhani underlined the “inevitable need” for cooperation between the countries in the region to accelerate the withdrawal of “the evil US.”
He said the “definitive solution” to rid the region of insecurity and terrorism is unity among all regional states and noninterference of foreign forces.
Iran’s strategic policy is to defend the Iraqi government’s sovereignty and develop all-out relations with the brotherly nation, he added.
Shamkhani also said that the measures taken by the Iraqi government to strengthen border security and expedite the implementation of bilateral agreements, especially in economic fields, will benefit the interests of both countries.
He further said that Tehran expects Baghdad to resolutely respond of terrorist acts against Iran perpetrated by counterrevolutionary elements operating in the semiautonomous Kurdistan region.
Referring to the US assassination of anti-terror commanders Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, Shamkhani said that both Iranian and Iraqi nations want the case pursued politically and legally.
“Cooperation and joint action by the two countries in this regard can speed up the process of following up on the case and serve as a deterrent to the recurrence of such evil acts,” he pointed out.
US President Donald Trump ordered the fatal drone strike on the motorcade of Iran’s General Soleimani upon his arrival in Baghdad on January 3 at the invitation of the Iraqi government. The attack also killed Muhandis, the second-in-command of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) counterterrorism force, as well as eight other Iranian and Iraqi people.
Kadhimi emphasized the need for developing Iran-Iraq ties, especially in economic and security sectors.
He further appreciated the all-out support of the Iranian government and people for Iraq’s efforts to defend its national sovereignty during the fight against the Daesh terrorist group, saying the Iraqis will never forget the Islamic Republic’s backing.
In 2014, when Daesh unleashed its campaign of terror in Iraq, Iranian military advisers — led by General Soleimani — aided Iraqi Armed Forces on Baghdad’s request to reverse Daesh’s gains and ultimately liberate their entire homeland from the terrorist outfit some three years later.
Heading a high-ranking politico-economic delegation, Kadhimi traveled to Tehran on Tuesday for a two-day visit. He met with Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani.
Also on Wednesday, Kadhimi held talks with Iran’s Parliament Speaker Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf. The top lawmaker told the Iraqi premier that the assassination case of General Soleimani must be pursued vigorously.
“We believe that the region will not achieve stability as long as foreign forces are present in the region,” the speaker said, adding, “We also believe that a strong and developed Iraq would be a significant model for bilateral and regional relations.”
Qalibaf called Baghdad a strategic partner of Tehran, says Iran’s Parliament has devised plans to boost trade with Iraq.
One of Parliament’s main priorities is promoting trade and economic relations with Iraq and other neighbors, he added.
Kadhimi praised Iran for supporting the Iraqi government and nation in the fight against terrorism and Daesh, saying Baghdad is determined to enhance the economic, cultural, and security relations with Tehran.
The Iranian and Iraqi governments and parliaments must hold consultations to foster relations in a way that would benefit the two nations, he underlined.
Press TV and Tasnim contributed to this story.