Abadi: Security of Iraq, Iran Intertwined

Abadi: Security of Iraq, Iran Intertwined      Abadi: Security of Iraq, Iran Intertwined

The Iraqi prime minister underlined that increasing defense cooperation with Iran is among Iraq's top priorities, saying that the security of his country is "interrelated" to that of Iran.

"Iraq's security is interrelated to Iran's security," Haider al-Abadi was quoted by IRNA as saying in a meeting with visiting Defense Minister Lieutenant General Hossein Dehqan on Monday.

Describing Baghdad-Tehran ties as "deep", Abadi called for Iran's continued support to help fight terrorists and restore stability and security to the crisis-hit country. "Despite the enemies' efforts to undermine our historical relations through instigating the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war, today the two countries have relied on their shared history, culture and border to stand against savage militants of Daesh (the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant)."

Denouncing the Saudi-led military campaign against Yemen, he appealed for a collective effort by all Muslim countries to help put an end to the war in the impoverished country. Dehqan, for his part, reaffirmed Iran's vow to continue backing its neighbor, saying, "We will stand by the Iraqi government and nation for as long as they want."  He referred to some attempts aimed at breaking up Iraq, stressing, "Iran has always regarded its neighbor as a single unified structure and will react to any approach seeking to split Iraq or undermine its national identity and unity."

  Strategic Principles

Noting that the Islamic Republic's policy on Iraq pivots on the three strategic principles of supporting Iraq's unity, helping protect its security and contributing to its development, Dehqan said, "The Islamic Iran has never limited its relations with Iraq to a particular current, faction, tribe or ethnic group."

Praising the Iraqi nation for having remained vigilant to avoid getting involved in sectarian conflicts and a civil war, the defense chief stressed the role played by religious leaders in this relation.

Dehqan thanked Abadi for his "positive" and "constructive" role in helping expand relations between the two neighboring countries, especially in defense and security sectors, expressing Iran's readiness to help bolster and equip the Iraqi army.

In a separate meeting with Iraqi President Fuad Masum on Tuesday, Dehqan cautioned against US plots to take advantage of the insecurity in the region to advance its interests.

"The United States is following the strategy of causing insecurity in independent countries through backing terrorist groups to create premeditated crises with the help of some regional allies."