Iraqi Soil Not for Use Against Iran  

Haider al-AbadiHaider al-Abadi

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said his government would by no means break its deep bonds of friendship with Iran, and his country would not be a staging post for any confrontation with Tehran.  

"We will not allow Iraq to become a battleground with Iran, or the Iraqi soil be used against Iran. We are not ready for animosity toward Tehran even if we are offered to rule the world or we are told that our country would be reconstructed for free," Abadi told a gathering of media chiefs in Baghdad on Saturday, Fars News Agency reported.  

Abadi said his government sees no benefit in engaging in regional feuds and will not get involved, but is willing to lend a helping hand if the sides to the conflict are willing to settle their differences through dialogue.    

He was referring to a row between Iran and Saudi Arabia, the two regional powerhouses that are at odds over regional conflicts in Syria, Yemen and Bahrain, among others.

Abadi was speaking a day after remarks were released from his vice president Iyad Allawi calling on Iran to stop what he described as "interfering" in Iraq's affairs.

  Unacceptable Stance

Chiding his veep for "unacceptable" anti-Iran comments, Abadi said, "It is not right to voice [personal] positions against regional states in the name of the Iraqi government."

Allawi, in an interview with Reuters on Friday, claimed that Iran's support to Shia groups in Iraq is obstructing efforts to bridge the sectarian divide ahead of a parliamentary elections next year.

"Iran has been interfering even in the decision [making process] of the Iraqi people," he said during a trip to Cairo.

"We don't want an election based on sectarianism, we want an inclusive political process ... we hope that the Iraqis would choose themselves without any involvement by any foreign power."

Tehran denies interfering in Iraqi affairs, saying the military assistance it provides to the Popular Mobilization Forces is meant to help defeat the self-styled Islamic State that overran large swathes of Iraq in a surprise attack in 2014.

  Abadi to Visit  

Abadi was to leave Iraq on Sunday for a regional tour of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iran that ends on Tuesday.

The visit comes amid a political crisis in the Persian Gulf, where Saudi Arabia and some allies have severed ties with Qatar over its alleged support for terrorism and friendly relations with Tehran.

Abadi said last week that his country was opposed to the Saudi-led push to isolate Qatar, and called for dialogue to contain the expanding political, economic and transportation crisis.


Add new comment

Read our comment policy before posting your viewpoints