A senior Iranian official has hailed the relations between Tehran and Baghdad as "deep and unique," saying the Islamic Republic will always stand by the Iraqi government and people.
"Iran will always stand by the government and people of Iraq," Ali Akbar Velayati, a senior advisor to Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei on international affairs, said in a meeting with former Iraqi prime minister, Adel Abdul-Mahdi, in Tehran on Thursday.
"We have deep and historical relations; there are few two nations in the world that enjoy such unique commonalities," he said, adding that the Arba'een march is an example of this cooperation and interaction, referring to the annual massive procession held in commemoration of the 40th day after the martyrdom anniversary of Imam Hussein (AS), the third Shia Imam, from the holy Iraqi city of Najaf to Karbala.
Velayati expressed Iran's readiness to cooperate with and provide assistance to the Iraqi government and people, while praising the "outstanding role" of prominent, veteran politicians like Abdul-Mahdi in Iraq's political arena.
Underlining that the elections in Iraq evinced the deep and rich intellectual growth and culture of the Iraqi people, the senior Iranian official said the election results could pave the way for the promotion and development of the country more than ever.
Abdul-Mahdi, for his part, pointed to the political situation and the election process in Iraq, saying, "There exist difficulties, but we will overcome the problems through the strength and will of the Iraqi people."
The former Iraqi premier hailed Tehran-Baghdad cooperation and said, "We are strong nations and we should not allow the West and the Americans to decide for us, and no power in the world can influence the relations between Iran and Iraq, and this brotherly relationship will continue."
In his meeting with Velayati, the Iraqi official also lauded the effective role of top Iranian counter-terrorism commander Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani and his Iraqi companion, Abu Mehdi al-Mohandes, in the fight against Daesh.
General Soleimani and his companions were assassinated in a US strike in January 2020 near Baghdad International Airport as the Iranian top commander was on a visit to Iraq.
Iran has pledged to avenge the blood of General Soleimani and to bring the perpetrators of the cowardly terrorist attack to justice.
Emphasizing that the US power in the region is declining on a daily basis, Abdul-Mahdi said, "The Islamic Republic of Iran is getting stronger day by day, and the United States and the West are weaker than before. The United States [military forces] must leave Iraq and this is the demand of the entire Iraqi netion."
Abdul-Mahdi also described the Arba'een march as a sign of solidarity and unity between the two nations of Iraq and Iran.