Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has started an official visit to Iraq, where he is supposed to discuss a range of political, security and economic issues of bilateral importance with high-ranking Iraqi officials. The visit comes amid increasing US pressures to cut Iran’s ties with its neighbors, especially Iraq.
کد خبر: ۸۸۴۹۹۴
تاریخ انتشار: ۲۰ اسفند ۱۳۹۷ - ۱۷:۴۸ 11 March 2019

Tabnak – Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has started an official visit to Iraq, where he is supposed to discuss a range of political, security and economic issues of bilateral importance with high-ranking Iraqi officials. The visit comes amid increasing US pressures to cut Iran’s ties with its neighbors, especially Iraq.

In the first days of his visit to Iraq, Iranian president highlighted the significant role of Iraq in regional security, stressing that Iran favors growing stability in the Arab country.

Speaking at a joint press conference with his Iraqi counterpart Barham Salih in Baghdad on Monday, Rouhani described Iraq as major Islamic and Arab nation in the region, saying, “Iraq can play a significant role in regional security and the relations among regional countries.”

Voicing Iran’s determination for alliance and partnership with Iraq, the president said the Islamic Republic attaches significance to security and democracy of Iraq, stressing that a stable Iraq would contribute to security across the whole region.

The Iranian president also highlighted the opportunities for mutual cooperation with Iraq, saying the two neighbors can work on trade, joint investment, establishment of joint industrial districts and border markets, tourism industry, energy industry, banking ties, construction of railroad tracks and environmental issues.

For his part, the Iraqi president underlined that his country should never become a scene of regional or international conflicts and disputes. Defeat of terrorism has not been yet completed in Iraq, Salih added, calling for concerted action to uproot terrorism in his country. He went on to say that Iran and Iraq are going to sign a number of major agreements that would serve the interests of the two nations.

Meanwhile, Iran’s ambassador to Iraq Iraj Masjedi says the visit of the Iranian president to Iraq is a turning point in bilateral relations as cooperation between the two neighboring nations could be seen as a perfect example of establishment of friendly and brotherly relations.

In an article published in “Iran” newspaper on the occasion of Rouhani's current visit to Iraq, the ambassador said that Rouhani’s three-day trip to Iraq that started today is very important and effective in the current conditions.

In the past 16 years, he said, Iraq has been hit by many crises including the US 2003 invasion which created the threat of disintegration of Iraq, the presence of Takfiri terrorists backed by Zionists and certain regional countries and growing religious and tribal disagreements as well as the creation of the terrorist group of Daesh (ISIS) in the country.

All those threats in addition to the fact that Iraq is Iran’s neighbor so the crises might be transmitted to Iran as its neighboring country were sufficient reasons to persuade Tehran stand by Baghdad and help the latter tackle the crises, he added.

Rouhani’s trip, described as "historic and noble" by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, has been viewed by experts as Iran's response to US President Donald Trump's snap trip to Iraq in December.

Trump slipped into Iraq on Christmas and spent most of his short visit outlining how he wanted to keep US troops in the Arab country in order to "watch" Iran with which Iraq shares a 1,400-kilometer-long border.

The unannounced visit drew fire from Iraqi officials and regional leaders, including President Rouhani, who said the secret visit - as if to a US state - undermined Baghdad’s sovereignty.

Unlike Trump, who had to land in a military base in the dark of the night with no Iraqi officials on hand to welcome him, Rouhani touched down in Baghdad in broad daylight and was received by high-ranking authorities.

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