The secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) says speeding up the expulsion of American forces from Iraq will help boost stability in the country.
“Accelerating the implementation of the law passed by the Iraqi parliament on the expulsion of the American forces from the country will boost [political] processes, which help bolster stability in the country,” Ali Shamkhani said in a Monday meeting with Iraqi National Security Council (INSC) Advisor Qasim al-Araji in Tehran.
Anti-US sentiment has been running high in Iraq since the assassination of General Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), along with Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy head of Iraq’s Hashd al-Sha’abi, and their companions in a US strike targeting their vehicle outside Baghdad International Airport on January 3, 2020.
The cowardly act of terror was carried out under the direction of former US President Donald Trump, with the Pentagon taking responsibility for the strike.
General Soleimani is viewed by the world's freedom-seeking people as the key figure in defeating Daesh, the world’s most notorious terrorist group, in the Middle East battles.
Iraqi lawmakers approved a bill two days after the assassination, demanding the expulsion of all foreign military forces led by the United States from the country.
Shamkhani said the United States is the main cause of insecurity and organized terrorism in the region and added that the assassination of General Soleimani and Muhandis has clearly confirmed the US role in promoting Takfiri terrorism.
"The pursuit of the prosecution and punishment of the masterminds and perpetrators of this terrorist crime is among the priorities of the two countries' security cooperation, and we expect more from the Iraqi government in this regard," Iran's top security official pointed out.
The government of Iraq is expected to take more serious action on the terrorist crime as it was hosting the senior Iranian general when the attack took place, he added.
The SNSC secretary also expressed concern over the resurgence of elements affiliated with the Daesh terrorist group in Iraq, saying, "There is reliable information that the Americans, by supporting Daesh forces and relocating them to different parts of this country, are trying to create insecurity and thus prepare the ground for their continued presence [in the country]."
Pointing to certain moves by counter-revolutionary and terrorist elements in the Iraqi Kurdistan region and northern Iraq, Shamkhani stressed the need for further Tehran-Baghdad cooperation to end the vicious acts of such groups.
The senior Iranian official said devising new security mechanisms among regional countries with the purpose of combating common security threats would be an appropriate way to establish stability and security in the region and voiced Tehran's readiness to contribute to the goal.
The Iraqi security official, for his part, said the Baghdad government is committed to implementing the parliamentary law on the expulsion of foreign military forces and added that necessary measures are underway in coordination with countries that have forces in Iraq to set a timetable for their withdrawal.
Araji outlined the measures taken as per an order by the Iraqi prime minister to deal with terrorist groups in northern Iraq and said necessary coordination is being made with the Kurdish region's officials to implement the decisions adopted to counter terrorist groups in northern Iraq, some of which are supported by the US.