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Rafsanjani stresses need to hold free elections in Iraq

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Tehran, Feb 15, IRNA -- Expediency Council chief Akbar Hashemi 
Rafsanjani said here Sunday that holding free elections in Iraq and 
giving the Iraqi people a right to decide their own fate under the 
aegis of the UN are the only ways to liberate the Iraqi nation. 
Rafsanjani made the remarks in a meeting with outgoing Turkish 
Ambassador to Iran Salahattin Alpar. 
He also stressed Iran`s basic positions towards maintaining 
Iraq`s territorial integrity. 
Referring to major regional and international issues such as 
Iraq, Palestine and terrorism, Rafsanjani pointed out the importance 
of regional cooperation between Iran and Iraq in political and 
economic fields and its impacts on preserving the interests and 
national security of both countries. 
Iran`s Expediency Council chief reiterated "the Islamic Republic 
of Iran is determined to promote Iran-Turkey relations so that it 
would keep pace with their strategic cooperation." 
He also expressed his satisfaction with increased volume of trade 
and economic exchanges between the two countries, saying "given the 
overall situation of the region, it is necessary to direct mutual 
cooperation toward investment and further infrastructure projects." 
Rafsanjani called for utilization of all existing potential, 
enforcement of the already reached agreements, implementation of 
pilot projects for transfer of Iran`s gas to Europe via Turkey, and 
construction of border highways in line with the long-term political 
and economic interests of both states. 
Alpar, for his part, described his respective country`s views on 
regional issues, saying "Turkey, like Iran, believes in preserving 
Iraq`s territorial integrity." 
He added "future of Iraq should be set out by its nation by 
holding free elections and establishing a parliament in that country."
Alpar expressed hope that the current relations between Iran and 
Turkey would further promote. 
MS/212 
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