Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has slammed foreign meddling in Iraq, saying the Arab country must stand firm against its enemies.
"The way to overcome problems and counter ill-wishers' plots is to preserve national unity in Iraq, properly recognize friends from foes, stand up to the brazen enemy, rely on youths and maintain and strengthen links with the [clerical] sources [of emulation]," the Leader said in a meeting with Iraqi President Barham Salih and his accompanying delegation in Tehran on Saturday.
Ayatollah Khamenei hailed the recent successful parliamentary vote in Iraq and the election of a president and a prime minister as well as the establishment of stability in the country.
Ayatollah Khamenei said the Iranian and Iraqi nations have deep-rooted, historical and remarkable bonds and hailed the Iraqi government and people's hospitality towards Iranians during Arba’een commemoration, which marks the 40th day since the martyrdom anniversary of Imam Hussein (PBUH), the third Shia Imam.
The Leader pointed to the suffering of the Iraqi people in the past and said "some ill-wishing governments and countries" now seek to deprive Iraqis of the sweet taste of their great achievement of gaining independence and prevent the restoration of peace in Iraq and the entire region.
"The only way to counter such plots is to maintain and strengthen unity among Iraqi groups, including Arabs, Kurds, Shia and Sunni [Muslims]," Ayatollah Khamenei stated.
The Leader stressed the importance of properly recognizing friends from foes in foreign policy and said some countries in the region and abroad bear a bitter grudge against Islam and Shia and Sunni Muslims in Iraq.
They are interfering in Iraq's internal affairs, Ayatollah Khamenei said, stressing the importance of strongly resisting against them without any consideration.
The Leader also emphasized that Iran and Iraq should improve relations and said, "Officials of the Islamic Republic are very determined and firm to boost cooperation with Iraq and I also deeply believe in this issue."
Ayatollah Khamenei noted that the two countries have great potential to strengthen cooperation and added that a "strong, independent and advanced" Iraq is very useful for Iran.
During the meeting, which was also attended by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, Salih said he carries a clear message that nothing can change factors linking the two nations.
The Iraqi president added that Baghdad seeks to expand relations with Tehran in all sectors in line with common interests.
He said Iraq would never forget Iran’s help in the fight against Takfiri terrorism.
He expressed hope that Iraq would be able to enjoy Iran's cooperation and capacities in the reconstruction process of the country.
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