Iran’s first vice president said relations between Tehran and Baghdad play an essential role in boosting security in the region and should be expanded at all levels.
Mohammad Mokhber made the remarks at a Sunday meeting with the visiting Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi in Tehran, during which the two sides discussed matters of mutual interest and ways of expanding bilateral relations.
Referring to age-old cultural, political and economic exchanges between Iran and Iraq, Mokhber said, “Relations between the two countries play an essential role in promoting stability and security in the region, and bilateral cooperation must expand at all levels”, Press TV reported.
He also thanked the Iraqi government for hosting a conference in Baghdad to ease regional tensions and discover the potential for regional cooperation.
“Iran regards the interference of foreign countries in the region as harmful to regional states and underscores the need for endeavors to boost bilateral and multilateral cooperation,” the official added.
The Iraqi premier stressed that Tehran-Baghdad relations should not be affected by any factor, saying that Iraq strives to fulfill all of its commitments with regard to Iran.
Kadhimi said Iraq opposes the inhumane sanctions against Iran and believes that the imposition of sanctions is not a viable solution to any problem.
The experience of sanctions against Iraq in the 1990s demonstrated that sanctions cause many problems for ordinary people, he said.
The Iraqi prime minister also thanked the Iranian government and people for standing by Iraq’s side in the fight against Daesh and other terrorist groups.
Kadhimi added that most American forces will exit Iraq by the end of the year.
In July, US President Joe Biden and Kadhimi declared that the US mission in Iraq will change from a combat to advisory role by the end of the year.
“The delegations decided, following recent technical talks, that the security relationship will fully transition to a training, advising, assisting, and intelligence-sharing role, and that there will be no US forces with a combat role in Iraq by December 31, 2021,” Baghdad and Washington said in a joint statement on July 26.
The agreement, which has effectively given a mere new name to the US military mission in Iraq, has enraged Iraqi resistance forces, who played a significant role in defeating Daesh in Iraq in 2017.
Expulsion of terror groups
Earlier in the day, the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council met the Iraqi premier. Ali Shamkhani told Kadhimi that destabilizing moves taken by certain terrorist groups based in the Iraqi Kurdistan region are a source of concern for Iran and undermine security along the two countries’ common border.
Shamkhani said such increasing moves are detrimental to security in regions along the two countries’ border, emphasizing that these groups must be rapidly disarmed and expelled from Iraq.
Last Monday, the commander of the Ground Force of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), Brigadier General Mohammad Pakpour, reacted to recent moves by anti-Iran armed terrorists in the northwestern border areas of the country and warned the regional government in Iraq’s Kurdistan against allowing terrorist groups to use its territory to pose threats against the security of the Islamic Republic.
On Thursday morning, the IRGC pounded the positions of terrorists in northern Iraq using suicide and combat drones as well as smart and precision-guided artillery to target the terrorists in the semi-autonomous region's rugged mountains.
Elsewhere in his remarks, Shamkhani pointed to the cooperation of some regional countries compromising with the Israeli regime, saying, “Such measures, which are taken within the framework of the new US national security doctrine, will not only fail to help establish security and stability, but will escalate the crisis and intensify insecurity in the region.”
Iran’s top security official emphasized that regional nations have suffered a heavy cost to end the US presence in the region.
The Iraqi prime minister said Iran plays a leading and strategic role in the fight against terrorism, particularly Daesh, adding that his country would never forget the all-out support and sacrifices of the Iranian government, people and the Armed Forces when Iraq was in dire straits.
Kadhimi added that the Iraqi people and government will always stand by Iran in dealing with problems and difficulties.
Heading a high-ranking political and economic delegation, the Iraqi prime minister arrived in Tehran on Sunday to hold talks about bilateral relations, issues of mutual interest as well as regional and international developments in meetings with Iranian officials.
Addressing a joint press conference with the visiting Iraqi premier earlier in the day, Iran’s President Seyyed Ebrahim Raeisi said despite what enemies of the two nations intend, Iran and Iraq will expand their relations at all levels with every passing day.