Two days before the Iranian President’s visit to Iraq, a country threatened by the United States and Israel with military strikes because of its relations with Iran and the axis of the Resistance, the Iraqi President is making particularly important statements. For Mr. Barham Saleh, “it is relations with Iran that determine relations between Baghdad and other capitals in the region”. President Saleh made it clear that Iran-Iraqi ties are not directed against any Middle Eastern state. Mr. Saleh’s comments should make Washington and Tel Aviv think again, believing that they can relive the years of occupation, they demand the dissolution of the Hachd al-Shaabi or believe that they can once again take advantage of the Daech void.
Iraqi President Barham Saleh said that President Hassan Rohani’s upcoming visit to Baghdad was “of primary importance”: “Mr. Rohani’s visit to Iraq is very important and we will engage in very detailed discussions with Iranian leaders. These discussions were already initiated when I was visiting Iran. I have visited all the capitals of the region and I would like to say that we want to have excellent relations with Iran because it is in our interests,” said Barham Saleh in response to a journalist who was talking about a possible Iraqi mediation between Iran and Saudi Arabia. And the Iraqi president added: “In the past, we have paid the high price of tensions (Iraq-Iran war, editor’s note). Our relations with Iran must be governed by the principle of respect for sovereignty and common interests. Some 1,400 kilometres of joint borders bind us to Iran and to this we must add our centuries of cultural, historical and social affinities. Under Saddam, Iran supported the persecuted Iraqis. He housed them. Ditto under Daech, it was Iran that welcomed our refugees. »
Later in his remarks, the Iraqi President referred to Iran’s military support for the Iraqi forces’ struggle against Daech. “I will talk a lot about this support during Mr. Rohani’s visit. I must remind the world of the importance of our ties with Iran. …] We await Mr. Rohani’s visit and hope that this visit will lead to agreements that will facilitate our progress. We will discuss how this forward movement should be made during this visit. Regional dialogue is a necessity. Our relations with Iran are not directed against any Arab country. These are relationships that will benefit all parties, especially the Iraqi state and government. I think the other parties are starting to notice that. »
Asked about the presence of US Marines in Iraq, President Saleh was very clear: “On this issue, I do not want to interfere in media noise. I have already mentioned the need for the training and strengthening of the Iraqi armed forces, which are heavily involved in the fight against terrorism. I am not saying that there are no voices against the US military presence in Iraq. That is true and there is no denying it: there is a consensus within Iraqi society that there should be no foreign bases in Iraq. It is a national consensus, but this issue and its outcome depend on what the Iraqi State and the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces decide. »