TEHRAN (Iran News) –Iranian Defense Minister Mohammad Reza Gharaei Ashtiani said on Sunday that the Islamic Republic is ready to share its experiences with Iraq in achieving self-sufficiency in military industry.
Brigadier General Ashtiani made the remarks during a meeting with Iraqi Defense Minister Thabet Muhammad Saeed Al Abbas at the Iranian Defense Ministry building.
Ashtiani added, “The Ministry of Defense of the Islamic Republic of Iran is on your side with all its might.”
It is the first visit by the Iraqi defense minister to Iran after the formation of the new government in Baghdad. He visited Iran late on Saturday.
The Iranian defense minister said friendship between Iran and Iraq are backed by affinities that exits between the two nations.
He cited repeated meetings between the senior political, economic and military officials, large volumes of trade ties as well as visits to holy shrines by the pilgrims from the two countries as proof of the strong ties between the two neighbors.
Just last week Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian made a three-day trip to Iraq, where he held talks with top Iraqi officials, including the president and prime minister.
Iran’s defense minister also said “I consider it necessary” to thank the efforts by the Iraqi armed forces for providing security for (Iranian) pilgrims during the Arbaeen rituals.”
Every year millions of Iranians visit holy shrines in Iraq, especially during the Arabaeen pilgrimage. The defense chief also sounded the alarms about the presence of Iranian separatist militant groups in northern Iraq, saying they are a “potential and real” threat to the security of the two countries.
Considering these threats, he suggested, it is essential to foster intelligence, military and security cooperation between the two countries.
Militants from Kurdish militant groups, such as Kumala, conduct hit and run operations in west and northwest Iran once in a while and this has forced Iran to make serious demands from Iraq not to let these militants use the Iraqi Kurdistan region as a safe haven.
Brigadier Ashtiani also said the U.S. assassination of Lt. Gen. Qassem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the commanders of the fight against terrorism and extremism, “was a great crime”.
He reiterated Tehran’s policy to seriously pursue the issue of the Soleimani assassination and “definitely we follow the path of these martyrs through reinforcing military ties.”
Elsewhere in his talks, Ashtiani said it has been proven that the presence of foreign countries in the West Asia region or any other part of the world brings “insecurity and division.”
‘Extra-regional countries seek to provide security for Israel’
General Ashtiani went on to say that the presence extra-regional countries in the region is intended to guarantee the flow of energy from the Persian Gulf region and consolidate the “security belt” around the Zionist regime of Israel through creating “artificial crises” as well as sowing disputes and conflicts among Muslim nations.
Claims of support for human rights, promoting democracy and helping the people in the region by these countries are just lies, he remarked.
For his part, the Iraqi defense chief remembered the memory all those who sacrificed their lives, including Gen. Soleimani and al-Muhandish, in the campaign against terrorism while defending the security of Iran and Iraq.
Saeed Al Abbas called Iran and Iraq as two “geopolitically” interconnected neighbors who share ethnic, religious and cultural affinities and efforts should be made to use these kingships to strengthen ties.
Unity between the two nations is something that the enemies of the two countries are seeking to undermine, therefore, it is essential to be vigilant in the face of these plots against both Iraq and Iran.
Described Iraq as country gifted with an old civilization, culture and splendid history, General Saeed Al Abbas said, “The Islamic Republic of Iran’s view is based on backing Iraq’s unity and (territorial) integrity, help strengthen stability, security, development, welfare in the country.”
“We are thankful to Iran”
Elsewhere in his remarks, the Iraqi defense chief said his country’s government, nation and armed forces are still in fight against terrorist groups including the takfiri Daesh and in this campaign the “friendly and neighboring country of the Islamic Republic of Iran has been helping us” through sacrificing the lives of its military forces and giving arms and “we are thankful” for theses helps.
Saeed Al Abbas also pointed to the geographical and strategic importance of the region and said securing the region entails cooperation and interaction.
The defense chief went on to say that a “powerful Iran” will lead to a “powerful Iraq” and vice versa and this is important to counter challenges and regional crises.
The top Iraqi military official also said his country is seeking Iran’s technical and training cooperation as the Iraqi government is seeking to reform its armed forces after long years of fight against takfiri terrorist groups.
The two defense chiefs also insisted on the need to create security in the border areas.
Army chief Major General Adbolrahim Mousavi told visiting Iraqi Defense Minister Thabet Muhammad Saeed Al Abbas (left) that Iran sees Iraq’s progress, stability and dignity as its own and that Tehran will spare no effort to help promote Iraq’s progress and security.
- source : Tehrantimes