Tehran Committed to Upholding Sovereignty of Iraq

Tehran Committed to Upholding  Sovereignty of IraqTehran Committed to Upholding  Sovereignty of Iraq

The Foreign Ministry spokesperson renewed Iran's commitment to respecting the sovereignty of Iraq, in comments on the Islamic Republic's stance regarding the upcoming parliamentary elections in the neighboring Arab country.

"Evidently, we have not and will not interfere in Iraqi internal affairs, and as a friendly and neighborly country, we have spared no effort to help [the Iraqis] whenever they needed our assistance," IRNA quoted Bahram Qasemi as saying in an interview with Al-Alam news network on Monday. Iraq's parliamentary elections, set for May 12, will be the first since the defeat of the self-styled Islamic State terrorist group.

"I believe that the vote will greatly contribute to the formation process of Iraq's new democracy and the establishment of a lasting security and sustainable economic development," Qasemi said. 

The May vote will decide the prime minister who will lead the country for the next four years, a position reserved for the Shia majority.

  Top Contender  

Incumbent Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi is seen by the analysts of having a better chance of winning another term in office, buoyed by a surge in popularity for successfully leading the war on IS militants.

Among other challengers for the top executive job are former prime minister Nuri al-Maliki and Hadi al-Amiri, a former transportation minister who bolstered his clout during the war on IS.

Iran provided critical support to the Shia forces that fought alongside the Iraqi army in the war to dislodge the IS from the Arab country. 

In a decree on Thursday, Abadi formalized the inclusion of Iran-backed Shia paramilitary groups in the country's security forces. 

The victory over the IS militants was formally declared in December after they lost their last strongholds in Iraq and Syria, the countries whose vast swaths of territory had come under the IS control in a 2014 lightning offensive.

"The forthcoming elections could mark a turning point in the contemporary history of Iraq that has gone through years of dictatorship and war and Daesh's [atrocities]," Qasemi said, referring to the IS by another Arabic Acronym. 

Iraq has suffered from decades of war. It was engaged in a war imposed by its former dictator Saddam Hussein on Iran for most of the 1980s and invaded Kuwait in 1990, leading to defeat by a US-led coalition and more than a decade of sanctions. 

A US-led invasion in 2003 toppled Saddam and was followed by years of occupation, insurgency and sectarian and ethnic conflict, before the IS rise.

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