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Shamkhani: Iran-Iraq strategic cooperation guarantees regional security, progress

Ali Shamkhani (L), secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), his Iraqi counterpart, Qassim al-Araji (R) and Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani (C) are seen in the signing ceremony of a security agreement in the capital Baghdad on March 19, 2023. (Photo by IRNA)

The secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) says the strategic cooperation between Iran and Iraq guarantees regional security and progress in West Asia.

Speaking at a meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani in the capital Baghdad on Sunday, Ali Shamkhani also highlighted the Islamic Republic’s readiness to contribute to the development of security, stability and progress in the Arab country.

“A united, integrated and powerful Iraq is the pillar of stability in the region,” Shamkhani said. “Without a doubt, Iraq will overcome the political and security problems that have been imposed on the country over the past years, and while recovering its influential role and function in the Arab world and the Islamic world, it will return to its historical position as an important player in regional and international developments.”

Following his landmark trips to China and the United Arab Emirates, Shamkhani on Sunday arrived in Baghdad, where he signed a joint security cooperation document with Iraqi officials. 

“With the full implementation of the security agreement between Iran and Iraq, the relations will move towards comprehensive development,” he said.

The top Iranian security official warned that any tension and crisis in common Iran-Iraq border areas will disrupt the security and peace of the people and is an obstacle to the development of the border cities.

“Any internal and external tension-causing and crisis-fomenting element must be dealt with decisively, and their roots must be dried up,” he asserted.

He also underlined the necessity of putting an end to acts of mischief by armed counter-revolutionary elements and groups as well as the military and espionage threats of the American forces in Iraq, stressing, “We should not allow the two countries’ interests to fall victim to the US’ mischief and its terrorist mercenaries.”

Shamkhani also said it is necessary to follow up on and swiftly implement the agreements reached by the two sides, including the activation of joint economic projects, particularly the railway project between Shalamcheh and Basra.

Sudani, for his part, said the Iraqi government and people have always appreciated the support and help of the Iranian government and nation, especially in difficult times.

“Martyrs General Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis are other examples of the two nations of Iran and Iraq being together,” he said, referring to two top Iranian and Iraqi anti-terror commanders assassinated in a 2020 US drone attack near Baghdad’s International Airport.

Sudani also said the signing of security agreements between Tehran and Baghdad shows that the two countries see their securities intertwined.

The Iraqi government, based on the constitution of the country and mutual obligations, will not allow any party to use Iraqi soil to undermine Iran’s security, he added.

Shamkhani also paid a visit to the site where General Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis were assassinated by the US more than three years ago.

‘Iran-Iraq security agreement to expedite development of ties’

In a meeting with his Iraqi counterpart, Qassim al-Araji, Shamkhani said the full implementation of the security agreement with Iraq would accelerate the growth of bilateral relations.

Pointing to efforts by Tehran and Baghdad to conclude a comprehensive security agreement that would guarantee stability and improve the security conditions in their joint borders, Shamkhani said, “The careful implementation of such an agreement will lead to a significant decrease in terrorist threats and border insecurity, and prepare the ground for fostering bilateral ties in security, economic and political fields more than ever before.”

The top Iranian official said he believes that the US measures and policies have created a crisis, and the United States is the source of insecurity in the region and in Iraq as well.

Shamkhani also appreciated the effective role Iraq has played in the Iran-Saudi Arabia agreement.

Araji, for his part, thanked Shamkhani for his visit to Iraq and said that the security agreement between the two countries would serve the interests of the two sides.

Araji underlined that Baghdad will do its utmost to fully implement the agreement and will not allow any group or country to use Iraq’s territory to destabilize Iran.

The Iraqi official congratulated Shamkhani on the Tehran-Riyadh agreement to resume diplomatic ties, saying Baghdad is fully prepared to help fulfill the agreements reached between Tehran and Riyadh as soon as possible, which will benefit the two countries and increase stability and security in the region.

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