Iran President Hassan Rouhani has warned against terrorist attacks targeting the Muslim world, urging a united front against terrorism.
In a Sunday telephone conversation with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, the Iranian president said the Friday killing of more than a dozen Iranians in a terrorist attack in Iraq was aimed at sowing discord and hindering development and progress in Iraq as well as undermining growing Tehran-Baghdad relations.
"We should fight against terrorism as a united [front],” Rouhani said, adding, “The planned goal of terrorist moves is not only the Iraqi people but also the Muslim world and all those who serve the Iraqi nation.”
On Friday, masked gunmen shot dead 25 people, including 20 Iranians, working on a pipeline near the village of Balad Ruz, some 80 kilometers northeast of Baghdad.
Five other Iranians and two Iraqis were also injured in the attack on the pipeline which is set to connect Iraq’s gas network to energy reserves in the western Iranian town of Naft Shahr.
The Iranian president further stated that the attack showed that “extremists and terrorists are targeting financial and spiritual interests of various Iraqi sects and religions.”
Rouhani called on the Iraqi government to ensure the security of Iranian contractors and firms in Iraq and stressed that countries involved in such terrorist incidents must be held accountable for their actions.
The Iraqi premier, for his part, offered his condolences to the Iranian people over the deadly attack and said such incidents are rooted in sectarianism.
Maliki added that he has ordered more protection for Iranians in Iraq, emphasizing that terrorists would fail to undermine the determination of Iranians and Iraqis for stronger cooperation.
The Iraqi government has formed an investigation committee comprised of high-ranking Iraqi military and security officials to probe the Friday attack.