EghtesadOnline: President Hassan Rouhani said Iran strongly rejects any foreign intervention in Iraq’s internal affairs, stressing that the two countries’ strong relations guarantee regional security and stability.
“Iran and Iraq share a string of strong commonalities,” Rouhani said in a meeting with Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein in Tehran on Wednesday.
“These commonalities connect us in such a way that the results and fruits of this fraternal and strategic relationships have surpassed the two countries and Rouhani was quoted as saying by President.ir.
Iran supports Iraq’s participation in regional interactions as an influential element, he added.
He described the two sides’ cooperation toward defeating the self-styled Islamic State terrorist group in late 2017 as a “very good case in point” that justifies the strengthening of bilateral ties.
The president stressed that Tehran opposes any form of foreign interference in Iraq’s internal affairs, considering any such intervention to be detrimental to the Iraqi nation.
Rouhani denounced the US assassination early last year of senior Iranian and Iraqi anti-terror commanders, General Qasem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, as “the most shameless” example of foreign intervention in the Arab country.
General Soleimani, who spearheaded Iran’s military advisory support for Iraq in the battle against IS, was martyred in a US drone strike during an official visit to the Iraqi capital Baghdad.
Rouhani said the US attack targeted “the heroes of the fight against Daesh [IS]”.
He expressed hope that the new US administration would “come to the conclusion that its presence in this region does not serve regional security and reconsider this policy [of regional interference]”.
The president identified Iran and Iraq as two “complementary economies,” and expressed optimism that the level of bilateral trade would rise to the $20-billion annual level.
The Iraqi foreign minister expressed Baghdad’s interest in expanding its ties with Tehran in all areas. He said the Iraqi nation and government are grateful to Iran for its contribution to the Arab country’s anti-terror struggle, especially against IS “and would never forget this”.
Hussein asserted that Baghdad was perseveringly pursuing US-led forces’ withdrawal from its soil.
The Iraqi Parliament passed a law following the assassinations, mandating the expulsion of all foreign forces.
The top Iraqi diplomat earlier met with other Iranian officials, including his counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif and Parliament Speaker Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf.
Zarif welcomed the formation of a joint economic cooperation commission for improving economic and political ties with Iraq.