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Iran-Iraq Drills Show Readiness to Counter Secessionist Moves
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Iran-Iraq Drills Show Readiness to Counter Secessionist Moves

The recently staged Iran-Iraq military drills showed that regional countries are capable of confronting any secessionist move, lawmakers said.

In a recent talk with ICANA, Hossein Naqavi Hosseini, spokesman of Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, said the military drill has a message for those who are seeking secession: They would be up against great military force. Iran and Iraq carried out joint military maneuvers in Iran's west and northwest to practice security enforcement along their common border.

The exercises spanned the borders of Iran's West Azarbaijan and Kurdestan provinces. Speaking on the sidelines of the drills, Islamic Revolution Guards Corps Ground Forces Commander Mohammad Pakpour said, "Facing common enemies, Iran and Iraq consider ensuring the security of their long borders against threats to be a constant and common necessity."

Pointing to the "illegal" referendum held by the Kurdistan Regional Government, Hosseini noted that "the territorial integrity of Iraq must be preserved and therefore such drills would help enhance stability."

In defiance of Baghdad's stiff opposition, the KRG held a non-binding referendum on Sept. 25 on secession from Iraq. Official results showed 92% of voters backed the secession. Turnout was put at 72%. Hosseini stressed that "all activities in this regard must be coordinated with Baghdad."

Lawmaker Kamal Dehqani said, "Iran and Iraq are concerned about security [along their common border] and the drill was conducted in this regard."

He said the wargame was aimed at boosting the security and integrity of Iran-Iraq border after the KRG referendum.

"The drill indicates that all areas of Iraq must remain integrated," he said.

Dehqani also pointed to Israel, as the lone foreign backer of the vote, saying that the Zionist regime would realize that pushing for secession has no benefit for it.

Last Saturday, high-ranking commanders of Iran's armed forces held a meeting, chaired by Chairman of the General Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Baqeri, to discuss the Iraqi government's official requests from Tehran after Baghdad said it would seek the assistance of Iran and Turkey to secure its borders.

The meeting was held three days after Baqeri and his Iraqi counterpart, Major General Othman al-Ghanmi, held talks in Tehran.

Last Monday, Baqeri also held talks with Turkey's Chief of the General Staff Hulusi Akar in Tehran on how to respond to the secession vote. The Turkish commander told a post-meeting press conference that the two countries are keen to develop military cooperation.

"In addition to the existing political and economic cooperation between the two countries, we are keen to expand bilateral military ties, particularly concerning the counter-terrorism campaign and security along our common borders and we have reached agreements," Akar said.

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