TEHRAN (FNA)- Iraqi Vice-President and former Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki announced that Tehran and Baghdad have voiced their willingness to widen their cooperation in the war on Takfiri terrorists in Iraq.
“We discussed issues related to sectarianism and Takfiri groups in our talks with senior Iranian officials and we hope to confront the terrorist groups through mutual cooperation,” Maliki told reporters at Mashhad International Airport on Wednesday.
He reiterated that the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) Takfiri terrorist group has no future in Iraq, and said, “The ISIL terrorists are being driven out of Iraq due to the endeavors of the Iraqi security forces and Iraqi army as well as the popular forces.”
Maliki said that ISIL terrorists have trained in Syria and they use the Syrian territory for their military operations in Iraq, and added, “Hence, the terrorist group should be expelled from both countries.
Iran and Iraq have enjoyed growing ties ever since the overthrow of the former Iraqi dictator, Saddam Hussein, during the 2003 US invasion of the Muslim country.
On Sunday, Lieutenant Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Quds Force Brigadier General Esmayeel Qa’ani said Baghdad remained untouched by ISIL terrorist group due to Iran’s support and assistance.
“The ISIL terrorists sought to surround Baghdad but they failed in reaching their ominous goals thanks to Iran’s supports,” Qa’ani said in North Khorassan province on Sunday.
Noting that the ISIL terrorists have been left with no more command center and are searching for new shelters, he said ISIL is becoming weaker and weaker day by day and is being annihilated.
Last Wednesday, senior military officials in Baghdad said Commander of the IRGC Quds Force Major General Qassem Soleimani planned the liberating operations of Jurf al-Sakher from the ISIL terrorist group’s occupation some three months ago.
After the ISIL fled from the embattled town of Jurf al-Sakher earlier this month, the Iraqi military gained a victory against the extremist group, with state television showing tanks and Humvees parading through the town and soldiers touring government buildings that had been occupied by the militants since August.
Photos soon emerged on independent Iraqi news websites revealing presence of the powerful Iranian general Soleimani, whose name has become synonymous with the victories of Iraqi ground forces.
An Iraqi commander, who agreed only to be identified by his nickname, Abu Zeinab, said Soleimani began planning the Jurf al-Sakher operation three months ago.
Militia commanders told the AP that General Soleimani was on the front lines in Jurf al-Sakher, providing weapons training to some 7,000 troops and militia fighters, and coordinating with military commanders ahead of the operation.
Some other militia commanders, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to talk to the media, described Soleimani as “fearless” — one pointing out that the Iranian general never wears a flak jacket, even on the front lines.
“Soleimani has taught us that death is the beginning of life, not the end of life,” one commander said.
The crisis in Iraq escalated after the ISIL militants took control of Mosul in a lightning advance on June 10, which was followed by the fall of Tikrit, located 140 kilometers (87 miles) Northwest of the capital, Baghdad.
They have been carrying out horrific acts of violence, including public decapitations and crucifixions, against all Iraqi communities such as Shias, Sunnis, Kurds, Christians, Ezadi Kurds and others.
The West and its regional allies, including Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey, are giving financial and military support to the militants.
In September, Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan and former Iraqi Defense Minister Sadun Farhan Al-Dulaymi in a meeting in Tehran explored avenues for bolstering and reinvigorating the bilateral defense ties between the two neighboring nations.
The Iranian and Iraqi defense ministers underlined the need for the further expansion of the bilateral ties and mutual cooperation between the two countries.
Brigadier General Dehqan pointed to the deep cultural and social bonds between the Iranian and Iraqi nations, and said, “We believe that boosting defense cooperation between Iran and Iraq will result in regional balance and consolidation of peace, security and stability in the region.”
He reiterated that Iran is ready to do its best to help establish peace and tranquility in the region through mutual cooperation with Iraq and all the other friendly and neighboring countries.
The Iraqi defense minister, for his part, pointed to the status quo in the Iran-Iraq relations, and said, “Our visit to Iran is aimed at a further consolidation and expansion of defense cooperation (between the two states) because the Iraqi government pursues enhancement of friendship and cooperation in the region.”
Al-Dulaymi also pointed to the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq War, and said, “The war that Saddam imposed on the two countries’ nations has increased the Iraqi government’s incentive for more intimate relations with Iran.”
The Iraqi defense minister said that the several memoranda of understanding (MoUs) signed between Iran and Iraq since 2005 show that the two countries are resolved to further broaden their bilateral defense relations and cooperation.
Iraqi defense minister expressed his country’s readiness to strengthen joint cooperation with Iran, saying Tehran and Baghdad should establish a regional security system to block enemies’ moves.
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