TEHRAN -- Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani has called an immediate disarmament and expulsion of terrorist groups from Iraq.
Shamkhani made the remarks in a meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi here late Sunday, terming rising movements of terrorist groups in the Iraqi Kurdistan region a threat to the security of the two countries.
On Thursday, Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) pounded the positions of terrorists in northern Iraq days after warning against anti-Iran movements.
The IRGC Ground Force used suicide and combat drones as well as smart and precision-guided artillery to target the terrorists in the semi-autonomous region’s rugged mountains.
It came days after the force’s commander, Brigadier General Muhammad Pakpour, warned the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) not to allow terrorist groups to use its territory to threaten the Islamic Republic.
Pakpour said that armed terrorist groups use Iraq’s northern territory as a base to sow insecurity in Iran’s border regions, adding Tehran had frequently warned and informed the KRG officials about the move.
Iraqi Kurdistan Region has been used for a long time by anti-Iran terror groups such as the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and its offshoot, PJAK, which are active in Iraq and Turkey, to launch occasional attacks against the positions of Iranian border guards and border areas in northwestern parts of the country. The attacks have been invariably faced with crushing responses from Iran’s border guards and other military units deployed in those areas.
Shamkhani also said measures taken under the new U.S. national security doctrine in the region will not contribute to security and stability, and will rather exacerbate the crisis and worsen regional insecurity.
Shamkhani 20 years of a catastrophic occupation of Afghanistan proved that the U.S. presence and meddling in the region will not result in anything but instability and insecurity.
Separately, Iran’s first vice president said relations between Iran and Iraq play an essential role in boosting security in the region and should be expanded at all levels.
Muhammad Mokhber referred to age-old cultural, political and economic exchanges between Iran and Iraq during a meeting with Kadhimi, saying relations between the two countries play an essential role in promoting stability and security in the region.
Kadhimi, heading a high-ranking political and economic delegation, landed in the Iranian capital on Sunday morning to meet with top Iranian officials, including President Ebrahim Raisi. It was the first visit by a foreign leader since Raeisi was sworn in as Iran’s new president.
Mokhber also thanked the Iraqi government for hosting a conference in Baghdad to ease regional tensions and discover the potential for regional cooperation.
He said Iran regards the interference of foreign countries in the region as harmful to regional states and underscores the need for endeavors to boost bilateral and multilateral cooperation.
“The presence of Americans in the region not only failed to benefit regional countries, but also caused great harm to the region’s people,” he added.
Mokhber pointed to the great capabilities of Iran’s public and private sectors, particularly in the engineering sector, and voiced the Islamic Republic’s readiness to participate in Iraq’s reconstruction process.
“Political relations between the two countries will definitely become more stable and more powerful with the expansion of economic relations,” he said.
For his part, the Iraqi premier stressed that the Tehran-Baghdad relations should not be affected by any factor, saying that Iraq strives to fulfill all of its commitments with regard to Iran.
Kadhimi said Iraq opposes the inhumane sanctions against Iran and believes that the imposition of sanctions is not a viable solution to any problem.
The experience of sanctions against Iraq in the 1990s demonstrated that sanctions cause many problems for ordinary people, he said.
The Iraqi prime minister also thanked the Iranian government and people for standing by the side of Iraq in the fight against Daesh and other terrorist groups.
Kadhimi said most American forces will exit Iraq by the end of the year.