Tehran Has Top Place in Iraq’s Foreign Policy

Tehran Has Top Place in Iraq’s Foreign Policy Tehran Has Top Place in Iraq’s Foreign Policy

Iraqi Parliament Speaker Salim al-Jabouri said the Iraqi leadership attaches high importance to bilateral relations with Tehran.

"Iraqi leaders believe that having close and forward-looking relations with Iran in various fields, especially economy, is high on the list of priorities of Iraq's foreign policy," IRNA quoted Jabouri as saying in a meeting with Secretary of Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani in Tehran on Sunday.

The Sunni politician praised "unwavering support" provided by Iran, "a very important and influential country in the region", for the Iraqi nation in its anti-terror fight, stressing the need for continuing this cooperation against the self-styled Islamic State terrorist group.

"With solidarity and unity, we should defeat terrorists, the biggest threat against West Asia, to restore peace to Iraq and the region," he said.

The northern and western parts of Iraq have been plagued by gruesome violence ever since IS, which was first mainly active in Syria, entered Iraq and declared Mosul its base in the country in 2014.

Since then, Iraqi government forces and volunteer fighters have been battling to take back IS-held regions. In recent months, they have made significant gains against the terror group, including the liberation of the key city of Fallujah. Iraqi forces are backed by allies, including Iranian military advisors.

Shamkhani hailed the Iraqi government for its success in handling the serious challenge created by IS. "These achievements indicate capabilities that many reactionary countries in the region lack," he said. "If those states had faced such a crisis, definitely they would have suffered graver consequences."

The secretary said that with the endeavors of Iraqi Army and popular forces, backed by religious authorities, ethnic groups and political parties, Iraq is on track to defeating terrorists.  Shamkhani hoped that all Iraqis would only consider national interests and help the planned offensive to liberate the key city of Mosul to be launched soon.

"The liberation of Mosul and overcoming the IS challenge would considerably promote Iraq's stability and solidarity among Shias, Sunnis and Kurds," he said, stressing that Iran will stand by Iraq in any circumstances. Mosul fell to IS in June 2014. The Iraqi Army and the forces of the Kurdistan Regional Government are gradually taking up positions around Mosul, north of the capital Baghdad.

Shamkhani also stressed the need for more efforts by Iraqi politicians to settle political differences, especially with Sunnis who have suffered the most from the IS presence in Iraq.  To promote Iraqi unity after IS, Shamkhani said all ethnic and religious groups should have their share in Iraq's government.  "Respecting democracy and giving all groups what they deserve is the path to unity and stability," he said.