Iraq will not be part of US sanctions regime against Iran: President Salih

Press TV – Iraq’s President Barham Salih says his country will not be part of a regime of unilateral sanctions imposed by the United States against Iran and will do its best to reduce the damage done to the Iranian nation as a result of the bans.

Salih made the remark as he spoke at a press conference in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, on Sunday, when asked about the impact of the sanctions on Tehran-Baghdad relations.

“Let me tell you that Iraq will not become part of the US unilateral sanctions regime against Iran. There is no doubt that we will be affected by these sanctions, but it is certain that we will not be part of them,” he said.

“Iraq insists that the interests of our friendly and neighboring country must be met. We will do our best to reduce tensions in this regard and decrease the damage that will be done to the Iranian nation.”

US President Donald Trump withdrew Washington in May 2018 from a landmark nuclear agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), reached between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries in 2015, and decided to re-impose unilateral sanctions against Tehran.

Under the deal, Iran undertook to put limits on its nuclear program in exchange for the removal of nuclear-related sanctions.

Salih further emphasized that his country wants to be a place for achieving regional agreements and it must not be used to carry out any hostile act against its neighboring states, saying this has been stipulated by the Iraqi constitution.

Iraq’s relations with its neighboring countries can help ease tensions in the region, Salih noted.

The Iraqi president said Iran has supported Iraq in its fight against the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group, adding that his country can say nothing but only to thank Tehran for its efforts in this regard.

On Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s “very important” visit to Baghdad, the Iraqi president said the trip mainly aims to deepen relations between the two countries.

He expressed hope that the visit would be an important step toward the strengthening of bilateral cooperation, particularly in the economic, security and political sectors, and help Iraq’s approach to regional issues.

In November 2018, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei slammed foreign meddling in Iraq, saying the Arab country must stand firm against its enemies.

“The way to overcome problems and counter ill-wishers’ plots is to preserve national unity in Iraq, properly recognize friends from foes, stand up to the brazen enemy, rely on youths and maintain and strengthen links with the [clerical] sources [of emulation],” the Leader said in a meeting with the Iraqi president and his accompanying delegation in Tehran.

No country can scuttle Iran-Iraq strategic ties: Zarif

Also on Sunday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Iran and Iraq enjoy “strategic” relations that cannot be weakened by any country, noting that the two countries’ youths fought side by side against the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group.

Zarif made the remarks while addressing negotiations between the Iranian and Iraqi delegations in Baghdad in the presence of Iraq’s Foreign Minister Mohammed Ali al-Hakim.

He hailed the recent parliamentary elections in Iraq, which promoted democracy in the country, and offered his congratulations to the Iraqi government and nation on such a “big success.”

The top Iranian diplomat also stated that he held positive talks with his Iraqi counterpart about leading mutual and regional developments and hoped the two sides would deal on common interests. During Rouhani’s trip to Baghdad on Monday, these agreements would be finalized, Zarif said.

The Iraqi foreign minister, for his part, said Iran and Iraq are linked to each other through deep-rooted and strategic relations emanating from common history and shared interests.