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New Iraqi President Favors More Cooperation With Iran

New Iraqi President Favors More Cooperation With Iran    New Iraqi President Favors More Cooperation With Iran

Iran's ambassador to Iraq, along with other Iranian consuls in the country, met the newly-elected president of the neighboring republic in Baghdad on Sunday to discuss relations between the two states under the new leadership.   

Kurdish politician Barham Salih was elected president by Iraq’s Parliament last week, who immediately named Shia technocrat Adel Abdul Mahdi as prime minister-designate.  

Ambassador Iraj Masjedi extended congratulations on behalf of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and wished him success in performing his mission.

"I am certain you have the power to overcome difficulties and rightly deserve the management position," Masjedi was quoted as saying by ISNA. 

The envoy announced Iran's support for a "strong and independent" Iraq that can play a pivotal role on the global stage. 

Salih praised the two countries' bilateral relations, stressing the importance of expanding cooperation that will be mutually beneficial.

"Developing interaction among regional countries will be to the advantage of Iraq and the whole region," he said. 

He highlighted Iran's role in bringing peace and stability to the region, particularly through its contribution to the battle against the self-styled Islamic State terrorist group that had once taken over a large swathe of Iraq. 

The present tensions, according to Salih, are "unacceptable" and Iraq will seek dialogue on critical affairs to help open up a historic opportunity to overcome the existing troubles.  

"We will attempt to make Iraq a hub of regional and international agreements," he said. 

More Iran-Friendly Iraq

Iran welcomes the election of Salih and Abdul Mahdi as president and prime minister of Iraq, since their approaches do not suggest that they back the United States' policies against Tehran, said Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh, chairman of Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Commission.

"Although the US will definitely put pressure on Iraq [to serve its interests], the new president and prime minister understand the requirements of Tehran-Baghdad relations better than the former authorities," he said in a talk with ICANA. 

According to the lawmaker, Salih's stances are in agreement with the late Kurdish statesman Jalal Talabani who had good ties with Iran and other Shia groups.

"Strengthening foreign relations, maintaining integrity and domestic peace, and preventing Iraq's disintegration and cooperation with regional countries were among the features of Talabani's mindset," he said. 

Falahatpisheh said Salih has even taken a stance against US sanctions on Iran in the past. 

The presidency is a largely ceremonial position in Iraq and the most powerful post is that of the prime minister who represents the largest parliamentary bloc and is in charge of forming the government.

Abdul Mahdi was nominated by consensus between two rival blocs, one led by Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr and outgoing premier, Haider al-Abadi, and the other by militia leader Hadi al-Ameri and former premier, Nuri al-Maliki, Iran's two most prominent allies in Iraq.

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