Iran, Iraq Underline Coop. to Boost Relations, Ease Tensions
EghtesadOnline: Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein, who arrived in Tehran on Saturday at the head of a delegation for a one-day visit, met with top Iranian officials to discuss a range of subjects of mutual concern.
He held talks with his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif, where they conferred on expansion of bilateral ties as well as the latest developments in Iraq and the region in general.
Zarif condemned the United States’ recent dangerous measure in targeting the Iraqi forces at a border region inside Syria, saying the illegal strikes have violated the sovereignty of that country.
He also noted that a series of recent suspicious attacks on the Iraqi soil appear to be aimed at upsetting relations between Baghdad and Tehran and disrupt the security and stability of Iraq.
“We stress the need for the Iraqi government’s action to find the perpetrators of these incidents,” the top Iranian diplomat said.
US warplanes on Thursday conducted airstrikes on areas near the Syrian-Iraqi border, targeting the facilities used by the forces of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units fighting the remnants of the Islamic State terrorist group across the border regions of Iraq and Syria in coordination with the governments of both Arab countries.
Zarif later called for efforts to promote economic cooperation with Iraq, saying the completion of a railroad linking Iran’s Shalamcheh to Iraq’s Basra would enhance trade between the two neighbors.
Hussein expressed Iraq’s readiness to expand relations with Iran in various fields.
The visiting foreign minister underlined that his country will not allow anybody to disturb its excellent relationship with Iran.
New Era of Terrorism
The Iraqi foreign minister also met with Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani and briefed the Iranian official on the latest political and security developments in Iraq.
During the meeting, he highlighted the importance of ensuring security and stability, as infrastructure for economic development and welfare in Iraq.
“Ensuring security is a top priority for a country like Iraq, which has been grappling with terrorism and insecurity for years,” he was quoted as saying by ISNA.
Shamkhani stressed the need for cooperation among regional countries to reduce tensions, calling for constructive dialogue to resolve crises.
He said peace and security in Iraq have been achieved through the huge efforts of the armed forces and popular resistance groups, and should be safeguarded.
Shamkhani also pointed to the recent military provocations by the United States in Iraq, warning that a delay in implementing a resolution passed by the Iraqi Parliament on the expulsion of foreign military forces would lead to an escalation of tensions in the region.
A US-led military coalition has been active in Iraq since 2014 on the grounds of fighting the Islamic State terrorist group.
Iraqi lawmakers passed the resolution in January 2020, following the US assassination of Iranian top general, Qasem Soleimani, who was on a mission in Baghdad, along with his companions, including Iraqi militia leader Abu Muhandis al-Mahdi.
Shamkhani also said the recent US “brutal” air raid against positions of resistance groups and its efforts to strengthen the terrorist activities of IS in the region mark the beginning of a new era of “organized terrorism”.
“Iran and other anti-terrorist groups will not allow the revival of the dependent Takfiri terrorism in the region,” he said.
The Iraqi diplomat also said that officials in Baghdad have reached agreements on repayment of Iraq’s debts to Iran, which had been impeded by foreign sanctions.
He added that Iraqi and Iranian financial and banking sectors have succeeded in removing a series of obstacles in the way of settling the debts, noting the process would begin soon based on a new framework agreed upon by the two sides.
This was the Iraqi foreign minister’s second official visit to Iran in a month.
Hussein had earlier visited Iran in early February and held talks with a number of senior officials, including Zarif and Shamkhani, as well as President Hassan Rouhani and Parliament Speaker Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf.