Iraqi President terms Tehran, Baghdad relations as 'strategic'
IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency
Tehran, May 9, IRNA -- In an exclusive interview with IRNA on Saturday, Iraqi President Fouad Masoum termed relations between Tehran and Baghdad as 'strategic'.
Commenting on his upcoming official visit to Tehran, President Masoum said that during the visit, he is to focus on bilateral relations, regional and international developments and Iran's assistance to Iraq to fight the terrorist Daesh.
He went on to point out that the two countries shared over one thousand kilometers of borderlines and had many ethnic, religious and cultural elements in common.
He said since the very formation of the new system in Iraq, ties with Iran has been excellent in all possible areas.
Given the strategic nature of relations between the two countries, the Iraqi president stressed Iran was the first country to rush to Baghdad's aid by providing military assistance against terrorists.
He said bilateral relations stood at the best possible level now in all areas including economy, culture and military.
Exchange of ranking delegations between the two countries all throughout the year indicated the depth of relations while the official visits taking place to either of the countries were equally important, he added.
Noting that the upcoming trip to Tehran would be his first visit to Iran since his taking office as president, he said three of his cabinet members namely ministers of environment, trade and tourism were accompanying him during his trip to Iran.
He went on to stress that Iran's presence in Iraq is neither for intervening in its affairs nor protecting its own interests but out of brotherly sentiments.
The Iraqi President said that Iran's presence in Iraq at the very beginning of ISIL was because the terrorist group posed a threat not only to Iraq but the whole region.
He rejected claims that Iran's presence in Iraq is for protecting its own interests and said Baghdad believed Tehran was not interfering in the internal affairs of Iraq.
President Masoum said he believed Iran's aids to Iraq were positive and timely.
Turning to situation in Yemen, the Iraqi president stressed that war was certainly harmful to the nation of Yemen.
He said ongoing war will inflict serious damage to the whole region.
He stressed that fight against terrorism was necessary while war among regional states was absolutely rejected as unacceptable.
Stating that agreement among regional countries was the only way which would benefit all, he said he believed that Turkey, Iraq, Iran and Saudi Arabia as four important countries in the region should sit down to tackle regional problems through dialogue, cooperation and interaction.
He said dialogue and diplomatic efforts by and among these four countries would lead to stability and security in the region.
As for Iran's nuclear talks, he stressed that a nuclear agreement between Iran and the 5+1 will help promote peace and stability in the region.
He said the Swiss statement definitely would help reduce tension in the region.
Stressing that he was opposed to extremism in its every form, President Masoum said local and international policies should not be affected by extremist views but be based on dialogue and understanding.
Inside Iraq, he stressed, the government was seeking agreement and peace among political groups.
Agreement and peace are important steps towards social peace in the country, the president added.
The Iraqi president noted that extremism is causing deep problems for Iraq as it creates gaps within the society and poses ultimate threats to the nation as a whole.
President Masoum is to visit Iran next week.
Several Iraqi cabinet ministers will accompany the president during his three-day visit.
IRNA reporter in Baghdad said that Iranian Ambassador to Iraq Hassan Danaeifar held talks with President Fouad Masoum on Tuesday morning to coordinate preparatory works for the visit at the invitation of President Hassan Rouhani.
The two sides discussed growing trend of bilateral relations in politico-economic and cultural fields.
Enhanced interaction and cooperation in the field of security and fight against terrorism had always been emphasized by leaders of the two governments.
First Vice-President Es-haq Jahangir during his visit to Baghdad last February delivered invitation of President Rouhani to his Iraqi counterpart to pay a visit to Iran.
This is the first ever visit of President Masoum to Iran since he took office last summer.
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