Chairman of the Expediency Council (EC) Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani has warned against enemies’ plans to intensify political and religious conflicts in Iraq, urging the country’s Shia and Sunni Muslims to remain united. In a meeting with Chairman of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (ISCI) Ammar Hakim in Tehran on Monday, Rafsanjani said enemies are not happy with the promotion of Islam in Iran, Iraq, and other countries and pursue their interests by taking advantage of minor differences among political, tribal and religious groups in Iraq. He stressed the importance of bolstering unity among Shia and Sunni Muslims in Iraq and promoting cooperation among all Iraqi parties and tribes to prevent any form of foreign interference in the country's internal affairs.
The EC chairman expressed Iran’s continued support for Iraq’s unity and independence, saying, “Meddling powers should not be allowed to achieve their goals through intensification of conflicts and spillover of regional crises to Iraq.”Hakim, for his part, praised Iran’s wise stance on Iraq's developments and expressed hope that Tehran and Baghdad would further expand cooperation. The ISCI chairman added that unity and cooperation among Iraqi political and religious groups would resolve the ongoing problems in the country, saying that dialogue and interaction would head off more serious crises and the interference of foreign powers. Iraq has been the scene of anti-government demonstrations since December 23, 2012, when the bodyguards of Finance Minister Rafie al-Issawi were arrested on terrorism-related charges. The demonstrators allege that the arrests were made on sectarian grounds and demand an end to anti-terrorism laws. However, Baghdad says it is up to the parliament to decide on abolishing those laws. SF/SS/MA