General Reaffirms Support for Iraq

General Reaffirms Support for Iraq
General Reaffirms Support for Iraq

The deputy chairman of the General Staff of the Armed Forces said Tehran will do everything in its power to help “purge terrorism from Iraq.”  

Brigadier General Massoud Jazayeri said in an interview with the Arabic-language news channel al-Alam, “Iran has made every effort to help the government and people of Iraq combat terrorism in the neighboring and Muslim country without expecting anything in return,” ISNA reported on Friday.

His comments came amid claims by US military officials that Iran has conducted airstrikes against targets of the self-declared Islamic State (IS) in eastern Iraq in recent days.

Pentagon officials have claimed that American-made F4 Phantom jets of the Iranian air force had been targeting IS positions in the past several days in the eastern Iraqi province of Diyala.

US Secretary of State John Kerry even went so far to describe any Iranian role in Iraq as “positive”, despite the fact that Tehran refused to join a US-led coalition against IS militants in Iraq.

“I think it’s self-evident that if Iran is taking on ISIL in some particular place and it’s confined to taking on ISIL and it has an impact, it’s going to be – the net effect is positive,” Kerry said on Wednesday, using an alternate acronym for Islamic State, Reuters  reported.

  “Deceptive” Coalition  

Jazayeri neither confirmed nor denied those reports, however, he said in response, “We believe the government and people of Iraq, the Iraqi army and volunteer fighters are capable of dealing with terrorists and bringing security and stability back to their country.”

He added the US-led coalition against IS in Iraq is “deceptive” and “presumptuous”, adding, “Since the establishment of Daesh (IS), the coalition has even provided them with military equipment which reflects their false claims.”

The general also said, “We view all military and non-military actions by the US in Iraq with skepticism, and obviously we could not have any cooperation with the main sponsor of terrorism in the region.”

Since August, the US has been leading an air strike campaign as part of a coalition, including the UK and some regional partners such as Saudi Arabia, against IS in Iraq and Syria, where the group has come to control large swaths of territory.

Iran has repeatedly announced that it will not join the US-led coalition since the US and its allies are adopting double standards when it comes to the issue of terrorism.

Iranian officials have frequently stated that Tehran backs the governments in Iraq and Syria in their campaigns against terrorism because it believes the security of the Arab countries is intertwined with that of its own.

This week Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi thanked Tehran for supporting Baghdad and said, “The war in Iraq is a matter of life and death for us and it was Iran that stood by Baghdad during this war.”

In an interview with the Arabic-language news channel Al Mayadeen on Monday, Abadi said unlike the United States that was hesitant to lend its support to Iraq, Iran did not “hesitate for one minute” to back the Iraqi military as well as Kurdish peshmerga fighters.