Iran eyes closer cooperation with Iraq after formation of new gov’t

Tasnim – Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi hailed the growing relations with Iraq and said Tehran plans to boost its cooperation with Baghdad after a new government is formed in the Arab country.

“Our relationship with Iraq as a neighboring country is good and there has been a lot of reciprocal visits,” Qassemi told reporters in Tehran on Monday.

“These days, we are witnessing efforts by (Iraqi political) groups to form a new government,” he said, adding that the Islamic Republic is waiting for the formation of a new government in Iraq.

Once the current situation is over, “we will certainly be able to boost cooperation in the private and public sectors more intensely,” the spokesman went on to say.

The remarks come as Iraq’s Sairoon Alliance led by Shia leader Muqtada al-Sadr is in talks to form a coalition with the Nasr alliance led by outgoing Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, along with two other parliamentary groups.

The parliamentary blocs of Sadr-backed Sairoon and Abadi’s Nasr met on Sunday with the Hikma bloc led by Shia cleric Ammar al-Hakim and the Wataniyah bloc led by former prime minister Iyad Allawi, in Baghdad to discuss forming the largest alliance that would form a government for the next four years.

After the meeting, the four blocks announced late on Sunday a preliminary agreement to form a coalition, according to Al Jazeera.

The announcement came as Iraq’s Supreme Court ratified the final results of the May 12 parliamentary elections, setting in motion a 90-day constitutional deadline for the top parties to form a coalition government.

In a televised speech earlier on Sunday, Abadi called on the political blocs to accelerate their negotiations, and on Iraqi President Fuad Masoum to invite the new parliament to hold its first session soon.

Following the Supreme Court’s ratification of final results, incoming MPs are now expected to hold a first session to elect a new assembly speaker.

Within 30 days of that first session, a two-thirds majority of the assembly will elect the country’s next president, who will then task the largest bloc in parliament with drawing up a government.

The new government will have to be referred back to parliament for approval.