Defense Minister Brigadier General Mohammad-Reza Gharaei Ashtiani says Iran’s military achievements could effectively help neighboring Iraq to beef up security.

During a meeting with Iraqi Interior Minister Othman al-Ghanimi in Baghdad on Tuesday, Ashtiani paid tribute to top Iranian anti-terror commander Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani and deputy commander of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, who were assassinated in a US drone strike near Baghdad International Airport in January 2020.

“Not only did the Islamic Republic of Iran provide Iraqi armed forces with military facilities and equipment at the time of Daesh invasion of Iraq [in 2014], but Iranian advisors were also present alongside Iraqi fighters on the battlefield,” Iran’s defense chief noted.

Ashtiani went on to refer to social, religious and historical commonalities between Iran and Iraq, saying they have played a decisive role in further enhancement of bilateral relations.

He said Iran supports the unity and integrity of Iraq, helps to strengthen its stability and security, and strives to participate in the development and prosperity of the Arab country.

Ashtiani said Iran and Iraq are both located in the sensitive West Asia region.

“Western states and the global arrogance use terrorism in order to justify their presence in the region. They also utilize the menace to sow discord among Muslim countries and weaken and erode their capacities,” he said.

“We believe that the countries in West Asia must ensure the security of the region. It is downright impossible to achieve stability and peace as long as trans-regional forces are present in the region,” he added.

Ashtiani also said Iran has valuable experience in the fight against terrorism, noting that the country’s military products can effectively help Iraq further guarantee security.

Iraq’s Interior Minister Ghanimi said Iran has always stood by Iraq on various occasions.

“We have never overlooked the assistance of the country and the efforts made by Iranian combatants in the fight against terrorism,” he said. 

“Cooperation between Iran and Iraq can certainly contribute to the development of different sectors of Iraq, especially security and economy,” the Iraqi interior minister said.



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