Ayatollah Sistani hails “Friendly” states’ role in liberation of Iraq

FNA – Senior Shiite cleric Grand Ayatollah Seyed Ali Sistani in a meeting with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani lauded the role played by the “friendly” states in victory against the ISIL terrorist group in Iraq.

During the meeting in the holy city of Najaf on Wednesday, Ayatollah Sistani also welcomed any steps to develop Iraq’s relations with its neighbors based on mutual interests, respect for each other’s sovereignty and non-interference in internal affairs of either country.

He also underlined the necessity for campaign against corruption, improvement of public services and restriction of the weapons in the hands of the governmental and security organizations, expressing the hope that the Iraqi government would succeed in these areas.

Ayatollah Sistani advised the Iraqi government to adopt balanced regional and international policies, saying that the nations should not be harmed further.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Iran’s Ambassador to Baghdad Iraj Masjedi also participated in the meeting.

President Rouhani had also on Tuesday traveled to the holy city of Karbala, visited the Holy Shrines of Shiite Imams and held a cordial meeting with leaders of Iraqi tribes.

He is also due to hold talks with a number of other senior Iraqi clerics in Najaf later.

President Rouhani arrived in Iraq on Monday in order to boost bilateral ties between the two neighbors amid US sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

Rouhani traveled to Baghdad to hold talks with Iraqi officials. A high-ranking delegation is accompanying the president.

In relevant remarks on Tuesday, President Rouhani underscored Tehran and Baghdad’s key and effective roles in the region, saying that his country would continue efforts to resolve the regional problems.

“Similar to the past, the Islamic Republic of Iran is ready to take steps to resolve the regional problems and develop talks and interactions among the regional states,” President Rouhani said in a meeting with Head of the National Wisdom Movement of Iraq Ammar al-Hakim in Baghdad.

He also warned that the big powers, specially the US, are always after hatching plots against the regional nations.

Hakim, for his part, briefed Rouhani on the cultural and political situation in Iraq, saying, “Today, Iraq has been able to live through big challenges and move on the path of reconstruction and development and certainly, further development of relations and cooperation with Iran can be effective in acceleration of this trend.”